School Fines Students, East Texas Parents Protest - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/12/07-Pittsburg

School Fines Students, East Texas Parents Protest

An East Texas school district says it's fining students who do not follow the rules and if students don't pay up, it could stay on their criminal record.   That's why some parents say they're protesting the Pittsburg High School administration, calling for drastic measures. Some parents say school administrators are crossing the line and are ticketing students for the wrong reasons.   

"They're getting tickets just right and left for minor offenses which are going on their records as misdemeanors."

Jackie Harris' son goes to Pittsburg High School. She says he received a ticket from a Pittsburg ISD police officer in school about a month a half ago..."for catching a cricket in class."

Tickets can carry fines of more than one hundred dollars or several days of community service.  

"I tried to meet with the principal and with the officer Tyrone about it, but I couldn't get anywhere, the principal's philosophy was just 'what I say goes,'" Jackie says.

Jackie says she's not alone in her frustration. Monday morning, some other parents protested outside the high school all with similar claims.   

"They'll issue just idiotic tickets for a kid if he burps in class they'll get it for disorderly conduct," says parent Timothy Roberts.

"For offenses such as saying 'heck' in class, one kid said 'whack' in class and they received tickets," says Jackie.

"I pulled my kids out of school, because my son's one of my son's was harassed from day one," says parent Tina Stone.

The parents say they're calling for the dismissal of principal Jim Richardson and the ISD's Chief of Police Tyrone Rogers. They've even started a petition, to present to the school board. But the superintendent says she has only received a few calls from concerned parents, and stands behind her administration.

"I do want to emphasize I believe our high school staff, and I believe they are following the law," says the superintendent Judy Pollan.

Pollan says the tickets issued are isolated incidents and were issued for a reason: students' safety.   

"Sometimes it takes very strong measures to make sure that the students are behaving properly...they are issuing citations for disorderly conduct, we are very much committed to having a safe school environment where teachers and students are secure<" says Pollan.

Pollan says she hopes to meet with the parents on an individual basis to resolve the conflict, but these parents say it's too late. They want action now. The parents plan to picket and present their petition at the next school board meeting set for February 19. The superintendent says the principal is under a two year contract, and only the school board can decide on his dismissal.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

Powered by Frankly