Key Argument Against Police In Schools Debunked In 2016 Report
In the wake of the tragic massacre in Florida on Wednesday, there were copious numbers of people who reiterated their long-standing plea that armed police be stationed in schools across the nation to protect the students who attend them. One consistent objection from people opposed to such an idea goes something like this: stationing police in schools will increase the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
The ACLU states, “’Zero-tolerance’ policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in schools lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school.”
But a 2016 report , quoting a nationwide survey of 470 high school and middle school principals in the U.S. from 2003 through 2008 conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, pointed out:
No differences were found between the schools in the overall number of arrests per student, suggesting that SROs arrested just as frequently as schools that relied on calling patrol officers. Compared to schools without SROs, schools with SROs experienced fewer arrests for serious crimes such as assault and weapons charges, and more arrests for disorderly conduct charges. … The evidence in this study also suggest that when SROs do arrest students, they tended to downgrade the severity of the charges against the student to disorderly conduct rather than an assault or felony charge.
Furthermore , SROs create the opportunity for school-aged children to have non-confrontational, non-enforcement contacts with law enforcement officers that may contribute to more positive opinions of the police later in life. Finally, the known presence of an SRO on campus may enhance the safety of our children, as the mass shootings at grade schools in the U.S. to date have not occurred at schools with an SRO presence. The research to date does not support the “school to prison pipeline” theory, and further research may well support the widespread belief held by principals that the use of SROs tends to have a positive impact on schools and students. – READ MORE