AUTHORITY OF DISTRICT POLICE OFFICERS
All West Orange-Cove CISD police personnel are certified Texas Peace officers.
All WOCCISD police officers have the powers, privileges, and immunities of peace officers. They may enforce all laws, including municipal ordinances, county ordinances, and state laws, and may take a juvenile into custody.
WOCCISD police officers must meet all minimum standards for peace officers established by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
All officers have district-wide jurisdiction and may be called to any campus or bus at any time, 24 hours a day.
Police vehicles are equipped with certified radar units for traffic enforcement.
SCHOOL ZONE VIOLATIONS
There are special laws regarding the protection and safety of our children in and around school zones. These laws are subject to change without notice by the legislature. This is a short guide to help provide education about a few common offenses that occur in and around schools.
SPEEDING IN A SCHOOL ZONE
A speeding citation in a school zone is typically a much higher fine amount than a speeding citation issued outside of a school zone. Both the fine amounts and court costs are higher when in these zones. You may still be eligible to complete a driver’s safety course or deferred disposition for dismissal of your citation.
CELL PHONE USAGE
It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving anywhere on school property. The Texas Legislature expanded this law to include parking lots or any other school property – in addition to school zones. You may, however, use hands-free wireless devices, use a cell phone while your car is in a parked position, or use a cell phone to make an emergency phone call.
PASSING A SCHOOL BUS
The 2013 Legislature Session increased the minimum fine amount for passing a school bus to $500 plus court costs for a first offense. For a second offense, the minimum fine amount has been increased to $1,000 plus court costs. If you are charged with this offense, please contact the court for your total amount due (fine + court costs).
OPEN CARRY FAQS
Recent legislative changes, effective January 1st, 2016, make it lawful to openly carry firearms in the state of Texas under certain circumstances. The new open carry legislation is currently being reviewed and interpreted by various governmental entities, including but not limited to the Attorney General of Texas. Therefore, the interpretation and release of information concerning these laws' application and effect with respect to public schools is ongoing.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed on school grounds and other buildings on school property? No, Texas law prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons on a school or educational institution's physical premises. The term " premises" is defined by law as a building or a portion of a building.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed on school grounds and other buildings on school property?
Texas law also prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons on any grounds or buildings in which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted. While Texas law does not define the terms "grounds" or "school-sponsored activity," West Orange-Cove CISD interprets these terms to include all district property where students are regularly present during regular school hours and other hours determined by individual campuses, including, but not limited to:
1. Playground areas.
2. Practice fields.
3. Sidewalks and courtyards used by students that connect buildings and temporary buildings on school campuses.
4. Outdoor areas used for science experiments.
5. Areas of parking lots in which temporary buildings are located.
6. Parents drop off and pick up lanes and/or areas as determined by each campus at a minimum of one hour before school and one hour after dismissal.
7. Board meetings.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed in school parking lots, driveways, and other parking areas? Yes, but only during times when a school-sponsored activity is not being conducted in the parking lot, driveway, or other parking areas. For example, if the school parking lot is used for band practice after school, handguns/firearms or other prohibited weapons cannot be carried openly or concealed in that parking lot when the band is practicing. However, during the time when the parking lot is used solely for vehicles, open and/or concealed carry by parents and other visitors is lawful in these areas.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed on public sidewalks or walkways surrounding school campuses? Yes, as long as no school-sponsored activity or event is being conducted.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed at school-sponsored activities or events? Texas law prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons at school-sponsored activities or events regardless of whether the activities or events occur on or off school property.
- Are West Orange-Cove ISD campuses required to post signage regarding the prohibition against open carry in school buildings? West Orange-Cove CISD does have signage posted at its campuses and other buildings to serve as a friendly and courteous reminder. However, West Orange-Cove CISD is not required to post signage to address open carry because the law expressly prohibits the carrying of handguns (openly or concealed) inside school buildings, any grounds, or building where a school-sponsored activity/event is taking place in the school district passenger vehicles, and at school board meetings.
- Are West Orange-Cove ISD employees allowed to possess and/or carry handguns (openly or concealed) on school district property? West Orange-Cove CISD Police Officers, whether in uniform or plain clothes, normally carry firearms. State law provides an option for the District to have school marshals who would be specially trained staff members per state law to carry firearms. The District will not confirm or deny the presence of armed marshals at campuses or facilities. Board policy prohibits employees from bringing firearms on District property.