Should Police Be In Schools?

As protesters around the country demand racial justice and a re-examination of policing in communities, the conversation has also spread to schools -- with many asking if police should be on campuses.

TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices. Download lesson plan and get started on KQED Learn.

What is an SRO?

A “school resource officer” is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is assigned by their department, agency, or school district to work in collaboration with one or more schools. They typically receive special training on working with adolescents on top of their police training--but what that looks like varies greatly around the country.

What is the impact of police in schools on Black and brown students?

Black students made up only 15% of the total student population but made up 33% of arrests where white students made up 50% of the total student population and only 33% of arrests. This could be due to more officers being present in schools where more than half of the student body is nonwhite.

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What happens when SROs are removed from schools?

The most likely scenario is that police departments will still be called by schools to handle certain situations on campus, and they will send regular officers instead of specifically trained law enforcement such as school resource officers (SROs).

SOURCES

Crime, violence, discipline, and safety in schools data  

Which students are arrested the most? ( Ed Weekly)

School to Prison Pipeline (University of Florida, College of Law)

Do Officers make schools safer? (New York Times)

Racial Disparities in Schools (Washington Post) 

Crime Rates in the U.S. (Pew Research)

Why Having Police in Schools is a Problem, In 3 Charts (VOX) 

National Association of School Resource Officers  (NASRO) FAQ