There's a robust debate, and a small handful of legislative proposals, aimed at reforming a school disciplinary system that charges hundreds of thousands of students each year with misdemeanors for things like chewing gum or wearing too much perfume.
What happened today at DISD's alternative school, formally known by the Orwellian-sounding Learning Alternative Center for Empowering Youth, doesn't fit into that category. This was a robbery.
Here's how things went down: A sixth grader was standing in the lunch line at noon when he felt someone reach into his front right pocket, where he was keeping $4 he'd brought for a new student ID card. The hand belonged to a classmate, also in sixth grade, who'd watched the boy stow the money after a teacher told him he'd have to wait until after lunch to buy the ID.
The boy managed to pull away with the cash still in his pocket, which angered the would-be thief, who happened to be considerably larger than his victim. He pushed the boy hard in the chest, knocked him to the ground.
The boy dusted himself off, tracked down two Dallas police officers who were working off-duty jobs at the school, and told them he wanted to press charges. According to a DPD incident report, they interviewed the boy and decided there was enough there for a robbery charge.
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They arrested the larger boy, called his parents, then took him to Dallas County's juvenile justice center which, if nothing else, gives credence to the notion that DISD's alternative school is a pipeline to prison.