Q: Can contracted officers for Pineywoods Community Academy write tickets or punish drivers who pull in front of buses at schools?

A: The contracted police at PCA are allowed to ticket on campus for behavior like this, Monica Gunter, the PCA assistant school director, said. However, the individual who displayed the behavior that prompted this question was not ticketed at this time, she said.

“A parent saw this and sent a photo to Ms. Shaw (a teacher at the elementary school) and she sent it to Mr. (Ken) Vaughn and me that afternoon,” Gunter said. “That afternoon, Mr. Vaughn walked outside, because he knew who it was, and they talked. He told them the legalities of what they did — state law will revoke a license for passing a school bus and obstructing the walkway to and from the bus.”

There were no students out of class when the infraction occurred and the car was moved by the time students were dismissed from school, Gunter said.

Q. Is there a dress code for school police at Lufkin Independent School District? Does a beard violate that?

A. There is a dress code for LISD police officers, however, a beard does not violate that dress code, Superintendent Lynn Torres said.

“You have to take notice of the fact that your major constituency that you’re dealing with day in and day out are students and parents,” she said. “And to me if your beard and your hair are neatly trimmed and you’re wearing a uniform that designates you as a police officer, then I don’t think a beard is distracting.”

The school takes the same stance with students having colored hair, she said. While it may make the student more noticeable, it doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate or that the student cannot do his or her job just as well.

“They police themselves and they have their own dress code,” she said. “When you see them, they’re neat and well put together, and I just don’t see why a beard would be distracting to anybody or offend someone’s sensibilities.”

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