Story by Laura Isensee
Photo Credit: KUHF
In 2010, De’angelo Rollins got into a fight with a bully at his new middle school in Bryan, Texas. His mother, Marjorie Rollins Holman, says her shy son reported the bullying, but the teacher didn’t stop it.
Then it came to blows.
“The boy ended up hitting my son in the face first,” Holman says. “My son hit him back, and they got in a little scuffle.”
That scuffle landed her then-12-year-old son in the principal’s office — and in adult criminal court after the school police officer wrote the sixth-grader a ticket.
“We end up paying for everything for our son and made sure he did everything the judge had passed down to him. But we were outraged,” Holman says. “We couldn’t believe that this was happening.”
Since the mid-1990s, schools have increasingly disciplined students with harsh tactics like suspensions and, in some cases, the criminal courts. Now, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction — even in Texas, one of the most aggressive states in criminalizing students’ misbehavior.