After a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas, schools across the country pledged to boost security measures and increase law enforcement’s presence on campus — partly to reassure parents and students.
But the police inside the schools can make some students not less but more restless. Particularly for black students and other students of color, personal experiences with police can leave them feeling unsafe and isolated from school when they see officers on campus.
High school senior Malika Mobley has seen three different school resource officers patrol the campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Once, on his way home from school, Mobley saw officers detained a troubled classmate and pushed the student into the back of a police vehicle.
“They were crying, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I didn’t do anything,'” said Mobley, co-chair of the Wake County Black Student Coalition. “I just had to stand there and I couldn’t do anything.”
From 2020, student groups have advocated removing police officers from school buildings in favor of investing in mentors and support staff for students.
“We don’t see police presence as part of the solution,” Mobley said. “If you really think about why the police don’t make us safe, you can relate all kinds of tragedies to the most marginalized among us.”
regular attendance at schools
Police officers have been a regular presence in schools across the country in recent decades, often as school resource officers who have been tasked with building relationships with youth to foster law enforcement’s trust, provide security, and enforce laws. task is assigned. Critics say that having armed police on campus often disproportionately arrests and punished black students, leading to what they call the school-to-prison pipeline.
Researchers have found that black students report feeling less secure around police officers than their white peers and that officers in predominantly black school districts are more likely to view students as a threat to themselves.
Katherine Dunn, director of the Opportunity to Learn program in the Advancement Project, said black students and other students of color are also more likely to have negative interactions with police in schools, from referrals to law enforcement to being arrested or banned. He said that since 2007, the Advancement Project has documented at least 200 instances of officers attacking students in schools.
“It reflects all the physical harm that youth experience by the police,” she said. “It is also the experience of being humiliated and feeling like a criminal as you have to walk down the hallway with many armed cops who are not there for your safety, whom you see arresting your friends, your friends. attack.”
Florida mandate results
In 2018, following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the state legislature passed legislation requiring that public schools have either law enforcement or armed personnel on campuses.
University of Florida Professor F. A study of the effect of the law by Chris Curran found that extended police presence was followed by an increase in the number of school arrests and reported behavioral incidents. There are many factors to consider in deciding the role of police in schools, he said.
“I would like to see if the conversation includes thoughtful consideration of the potential benefits, reductions in certain types of behaviors, but also potentially unintended consequences, if it is increasing the likelihood of student arrests or potentially increasing discipline and arrest rates. Racial inequalities are increasing in the U.S.,” Koran said.
While there are examples of school resource officers who have intervened in incidents of gun violence, Curran said, the presence of law enforcement does not always guarantee that shootings or other violence will not occur, or that the officer will be effective in stopping immediately. Reducing the number of perpetrators and casualties.
In a statement released this week on best practices for school safety in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting, the National Association of School Resource Officers on the importance of having a “carefully selected, specially trained SRO” on your campus when you are at school. Insisted. session.”
The non-profit group has dismissed criticism that officials contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. Officials who follow its best practices, it says, do not arrest students for disciplinary issues that would normally be handled by teachers.
As elsewhere across the country, police presence outside North Carolina schools was increased last week to reassure families after the shootings in Uvalde, Texas.
There are 75 school resource officers in Wake County schools, drawn from several local law enforcement agencies.
Chalina Morgan-Lopez said the Wake County Black Student Coalition’s campaign stems partly from student accounts of bad experiences with officers, including a 2017 incident in which a school resource officer was found to be lifting a black girl to the ground. Was filmed slamming. , a high school senior who co-chairs the student group.
“I think it’s an appropriate response to wanting more officers in schools, especially from people who really feel protected by law enforcement, even though that’s not my life experience,” Morgan-Lopez said. “But I think people need to take into account that officers actually do more harm than good.”
Last summer the school system made several changes to its school resource officer program, including a new process for filing complaints with officials and adjustments in training to better prepare them for the school environment, the school system. Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for Luton said the review was based on community response sought in the district in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is not a new conversation for us,” she said. “It definitely brought it back to light.”
This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.