Don't tase students at school, activists say

BASTROP, Texas - Security video from Cedar Creek High School in Bastrop, Texas, captured what happened when an officer shot 17-year-old Noe Nino de Rivera with a Taser.

He had come to break up a fight. Instead he was knocked to the concrete floor. Police said he disobeyed their orders. His head hit so hard he required emergency surgery for a severe brain hemorrhage, and then spent 52 days in a medically induced coma.

"He cannot talk the way he used to talk, he cannot walk the way he used to walk, he cannot think the way he used to think," said his brother, Jesus.

tasers-teenager-injured.jpg
Noe Nino de Rivera was severely injured when he was shot by a Taser
CBS News
Officers from at least 5,000 law enforcement agencies carry Tasers in schools. No one tracks how often they are used on students, but CBS News found 20 reported examples since 2012.

"Tasers and pepper spray are being used to break up school fights or to de-escalate school fights," said Deborah Fowler with Texas Appleseed.

Her legal aid group supported a Texas bill that would have banned the use of Tasers in schools.

"There are other opportunities to de-escalate that don't pose the same dangers that certainly Tasers pose," Fowler said.

tasers.jpg
School officers are armed with Tasers
CBS News
Since 2005, legislators in at least four states have proposed banning Taser use in schools. In Texas, the state's largest police union opposed any ban.

Charlie Wilkison is the union's executive director.

Asked whether his group had studied the potential hazards of Tasers or stun guns on adolescents and their bodies before opposing the legislation, Wilkison said, "No, we studied what would happen to cops if you had open season on them, without all their weapons."

"We're not advocating on behalf of children, we're advocating on behalf of real live licensed trained peace officers, who risk their lives every day," he said.

tasers-officer.jpg
CBS News found 20 reported examples of Tasers being used on students since 2012
CBS News
CBS News found a half dozen reports of officer injuries in schools since 2012.

But Noe Nino de Rivera's family believes students face a greater risk. The teen is now in a brain rehabilitation center, where he is expected to stay another six months.

  • Anna Werner

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter