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Texas school district gets a head start with new required course on how to interact with police

High schools in Texas will soon be required to teach students how to interact with law enforcement. One school district has already rolled out the new addition to its curriculum. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)

Texas school districts have until 2020 to roll out a newly required high school course on how to interact with police officers, but the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District is getting a head start.

What are the details?

Grapevine High School corralled 1,000 students on Thursday for its course on the do's and don'ts of how to behave around police officers.

"A lot of times people don't understand the level of tension to the unknown," Grapevine Police Sgt. Jason Keller, who teaches most of the classes, told KTVT-TV. "An officer walking up to a vehicle, approaching a subject that they have no idea who they are, or what they've done."

Students are taught what to do when they're pulled over by an officer, how to act if they're arrested, and what their rights are as citizens.

"They have a right to be searched; they have a right not to answer questions," Keller said, giving examples to KTVT. "Your basic right is to remain silent."

Specifically referencing traffic stops, Keller added, "They do have to pull over. They do have to cooperate. You can't lie to the police. You can't give a fake name."

Every high school student in the district is required to take the course by the end of September. It only needs to be taken once, and will be given to incoming freshmen in the future.

What's the background?

Last year, Texas passed a law requiring public schools to include law enforcement interaction training as part of its curriculum. The law also requires peace officers to go through training on how to interact with civilians. The intent of the legislation is to improve the relationship between police and citizens.

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