PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (KBTX) -- Texas lawmakers are pushing legislation that would mandate that high school students are taught how to properly respond if they are pulled over by law enforcement. The goal is to ease tension between citizens and law enforcement.
Dejanne Mitchell, a senior at Prairie View A&M, says many people in her community are fearful of law enforcement following the arrest of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who authorities say later committed suicide while in jail.
"A lot of the kids are scared of the police in this area now because that happened,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell says adding education on what to do in a traffic stop could calm the nerves of young drivers.
"Most kids, when they get pulled over, they probably panicking and stuff, so I think that would be a good idea,” said Mitchell.
If the proposed bill passes, all 9th grade students in the state would be required to learn about how to react during a traffic stop.
Vondrea Willis lives in Prairie View and says the extra education should be directed elsewhere.
"I think it is more important to focus the financial spending or whatever on the officers’ training,” said Willis.
For Willis, communication during a traffic stop is a two-way street.
"If an officer is trained on how to respond properly to any situation, any negative situation can be avoided,” said Willis.
Willis says teaching young drivers how to respond during a traffic stop is something parents should teach their children, not the school system. He says he is already teaching his five-year-old the attitude he should exhibit towards authorities.
"I will and I am teaching him, especially [to] respect everybody, show respect, receives respect,” said Willis.
The Department of Public Safety is also looking into making changes in driver’s education curriculum. Specifically, they are looking at changing the language in their guides on how to respond when signaled by law enforcement to pull over.