GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas high school students will soon be required to take a class to learn how to interact with police officers.
About 1,000 freshmen and seniors at Grapevine High School did that on Thursday.READ MORE: Police: 1 Dead In Downtown Austin Mass Shooting, Juvenile Suspect Arrested
All high school students at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD will have taken the training by the end of September.
Grapevine Police Sergeant Jason Keller is teaching most of the sessions at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.
“A lot of times people don’t understand the level of tension to the unknown,” said Sgt. Keller. “An officer walking up to a vehicle, approaching a subject that they have no idea who they are, or what they’ve done.”
Learning how to behave during a traffic stop is part of class. So is what to do if you’re being arrested. Students are also taught basic dos and don’ts of interacting with police off campus.
“They have a right not to be searched; they have a right not to answer questions,” said Sgt. Keller. “Your basic right is to remain silent.”READ MORE: 4 Injured After Vehicle Crashes Into MedStar Ambulance That Was Responding To Emergency
You also have the right to refuse a search of a backpack or vehicle off campus. The rules are different while on school grounds. Aside from learning their rights, students also learn where they must comply.
“They do have to pull over. They do have to cooperate,” said Keller. “You can’t lie to a police officer. You can’t give a fake name.”
Students also get to text in questions. Inevitably, students ask can they record a police officer. Yes, police say, so long as it doesn’t interfere with an officer doing his or her job.
Districts in Texas have until 2020 to implement this, but Grapevine-Colleyville ISD feels it’s important training that shouldn’t wait.
“We want them to avoid any trouble with police that could be avoided just by their actions or their reactions,” said GCISD head of security Allen Smith.MORE NEWS: North Texas Church Shines Light On Black-Owned Businesses In Remembrance Of Tulsa Race Massacre
Students only need to take the class once in their high school years. Going forward, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD plans to give the class to incoming freshman.