Q: A student was caught with brass knuckles at school today. I thought brass knuckles were considered a prohibited weapon requiring expulsion but it’s not listed in the Glossary to our Code of Conduct. Is the District required to expel the student under Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code?
A: No. During the most recent legislative session, the legislature removed “knuckles” from the list of prohibited weapons in the Texas Penal Code, leaving the prohibition of knuckles up to local student codes of conduct.
House Bill 446, entitled “Criminal Consequences of Engaging in Conduct With Club or Knuckles,” effective September 1, 2019, removed knuckles from the list of prohibited weapons in Section 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code. The purpose of the bill is to provide Texans the right to carry knuckles as a self-defense mechanism. Previously, knuckles were considered a “prohibited weapon” and were located in the same category as “machine guns” and “explosive weapons.”
Under Texas Education Code 37.007(a)(1), a school district is required to expel a student who engages in conduct that contains the “elements of an offense relating to prohibited weapons under Section 46.05, Penal Code.” Because knuckles used to be considered a “prohibited weapon,” school districts were required to expel students found in possession of knuckles. Given the recent update to the Penal Code, however, districts now have discretion to discipline students in accordance with the local student code of conduct, such as by placing the student in in-school-suspension, out-of-school suspension, or DAEP.
For specific questions about disciplining students in possession of knuckles, please contact your local school attorney.