Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 11
I don't care where the officer
is coming from. They
shouldn't be placed in
there just for the sake of
having someone there.
That's a mistake."
National Association of School Resource Officers
tricts with uneven discipline rates.
Debates over police in schools have run parallel to
those about police on the street: In both settings, cellphone videos of violent encounters have spread quickly
on the internet and fueled controversy.
Police shooting deaths of African-Americans, most of
them unarmed, in communities across the country set
off national protests and spawned a new movement
of civil rights activism calling for dramatic changes to
law enforcement and criminal justice. That movement
helped accelerate momentum for changes to school discipline and safety.
But since Trump was elected, advocates have grown
concerned about other issues, like climate change, said
Phillip Goff, the president of the Center for Policing
Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"On November 9, policing in general went from the
number-one domestic policy issue in the United States
to the number-five issue overnight," he said.
The federal data used in Education Week's analysis was collected from nearly every public school in
the country a few months before Michael Brown, an
unarmed black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by a
white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo.
That encounter thrust into the broader public consciousness long-held concerns and anger in black communities about racial bias and inequities in policing
and other institutions.
Concerns Over Everyday Interactions
Other high-profile incidents that weren't caught
on video have also heightened concerns about unjust or overzealous policing of students.
In Prince William County, Va., a 14-year-old boy
was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and
petty larceny last fall after a school-based officer
accused him of stealing a carton of milk. The boy,
who qualified for free lunches, said he had gone
back to the cafeteria cooler to get the milk after he
forgot to pick one up when he first went through
the serving line.
In Kansas City, Mo., the ACLU filed a federal
lawsuit on behalf of the family of a 7-year-old boy
who was handcuffed by a school resource officer for
disrupting his elementary school. The boy
was crying loudly in response to a bullying
incident, the lawsuit said, and an officer
handcuffed the boy when he refused to
In Alabama, a federal judge said Birmingham school officers used unconstitutionally excessive force when they
sprayed students who were not resisting
arrest or posing a threat to others with a mix
of pepper spray and tear gas at school. In one
of those instances, an officer sprayed a pregnant
student who was already restrained with handcuffs. The judge ruled that in some other incidents
the pepper-spraying was justified.
While violent interactions draw the most attention, advocates say their concerns about police in
schools extend beyond those incidents and arrest
rates, and into areas that data can't quantify.
Measures like security cameras and police presence in schools have effects on students' experiences that haven't been fully documented, they say.
And what federal data don't show are the daily,
incidental interactions between officers and students in hallways, at metal detectors at school
entrances, and in searches of students' bags and
lockers, those groups say.
The data also don't show what schools lose out
on when they channel funds toward law enforcement that could be spent on school counselors, social workers, and other student-support measures,
those groups say. For example, an analysis of the
2013-14 civil rights data by the Education Department found that 1.6 million students attended
schools with police but no school counselors and
that those students were more likely to be Hispanic
And, because students of color are more likely
than their white peers to attend schools with onsite officers, policies related to those officers have
become an equity issue, said Brown, of the Communities for Just Schools Fund.
Education Week's data analysis found that 74
percent of black high school students attend a
school with at least one on-site law enforcement
officer, compared with 71 percent of both Hispanic
and multiracial high school students, and 65 percent of both Asian and white high school students.
The disparity is more pronounced at the middle
school level, where 59 percent of black students attend schools with law enforcement, compared with
49 percent of both Hispanic and multiracial students, 47 percent of white students, and 40 percent
of Asian students.
A 2016 study published in the Washington University Law Review found that students were more
likely to be referred to law enforcement for offenses
Melissa Golden/Redux for Education Week
ABOUT THIS SERIES
What should be the role of police officers in schools? How much do
they protect? Do they contribute to the so-called school-to-prison
pipeline? Education Week dug into the latest federal civil rights
data to see who is most likely to be arrested at school and which
students are most likely to go to schools with cops. We also profile
two districts-St. Paul, Minn., and Atlanta-trying to balance
safety and a positive school climate.
More coverage, data, and multimedia >
Black Students Most Likely
To Be Arrested at School
In 43 states and the District of Columbia,
black students are arrested at school
at disproportionately high levels. > Page 1
Which Students Are Arrested
Most in School?
Use our data tool to explore student arrest rates
and referrals to law enforcement at national,
state, and local levels.
COMING FEB. 8
Ackerman + Gruber for Education Week
Similarly, scrutiny of the role of police in schools
has accelerated since the public watched bystander
videos that showed a South Carolina school resource officer dragging a girl from her desk after
she refused to surrender a cellphone; a Baltimore
officer who kicked and slapped a student accused
of trespassing; and other hastily captured images
of black and Hispanic students who were tackled,
pinned down, and arrested at school, sometimes for
In St. Paul, a Fight to Build Trust
Violence in the city's schools-and contentious interactions
with police-have divided some students and teachers,
making efforts to revamp school security difficult.
Melissa Golden/Redux for Education Week
The U.S. departments of Education and Justice delivered in 2014 their strongest message about what activists call the "school-to-prison pipeline." The agencies
put schools on notice that their discipline policies and
practices may violate federal civil rights laws if they
lead to disproportionately high rates of arrests or suspensions for some racial groups, even if those policies
weren't written with discriminatory intent.
And districts must ensure that school-based officers
don't violate students' civil rights-whether they are
employed directly by the district or contracted through
local police, the agencies said.
"A routine school disciplinary infraction should land
a student in the principal's office, not in a police precinct," then-Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Conservative federal lawmakers pushed back
against those warnings, however, saying that stance
would force schools to avoid disciplining some students.
Before the public has had the chance to see whether
those efforts-and parallel efforts in states and districts-have eased disproportionate discipline rates,
President Donald Trump's administration will begin
implementing policies of its own. Trump's team of
advisers and Cabinet nominees have signaled plans
to roll back the aggressive civil rights stance of the
Obama years. On the campaign trail, Trump, who
pledged to be a "law and order president," singled out
largely black communities as dysfunctional and unsafe
and cited school shootings as a reason to ease gun restrictions and increase security in schools.
Trump's education advisers have suggested the new
administration will scale back the Education Department's office for civil rights, which led much of the
Obama administration's work on intervening in dis-
Atlanta Starts Over With Police
The district is building its own police department from
scratch and officers are getting specialized training to
work in school settings.
PAGE 12 >
EDUCATION WEEK | January 25, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 25, 2017
Education Week - January 25, 2017
Black Students Most Likely To Be Arrested at School
Crossroads for K-12 Policy With Trump Now at Helm
News in Brief
Spec. Ed. Enrollments Rise
Coalition for Essential Schools To End Its 33-Year Run
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Faster, Cheaper Tech for Schools Noted
Study of i3 Flags Issues For School Innovators
Q&A: She Recorded Classmate’s Arrest, Then Got Arrested, Too
Nominee to Head Ed. Dept. Grilled on Potential Business Conflicts
DeVos Takes Hot Seat In Confirmation Quest
State of the States
Trump Calls Nation’s Schools ‘Flush With Cash,’ Failing
JACK MARKELL: How ESSA Could Change Education for the Better
BRIAN GILL & JENNIFER LERNER: Accountability Should Add Up To More Than Test Scores
KAREN LEWIS: Betsy DeVos and Rahm Emanuel: Two Sides of the Same Coin
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JULIE FLAPAN & JANE MARGOLIS: Stop Scapegoating and Start Educating
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Crossroads for K-12 Policy With Trump Now at Helm
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 2
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 3
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 6
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Coalition for Essential Schools To End Its 33-Year Run
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Faster, Cheaper Tech for Schools Noted
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Study of i3 Flags Issues For School Innovators
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 10
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 11
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Q&A: She Recorded Classmate’s Arrest, Then Got Arrested, Too
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 13
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - DeVos Takes Hot Seat In Confirmation Quest
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - State of the States
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 16
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 17
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Trump Calls Nation’s Schools ‘Flush With Cash,’ Failing
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 19
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - BRIAN GILL & JENNIFER LERNER: Accountability Should Add Up To More Than Test Scores
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - KAREN LEWIS: Betsy DeVos and Rahm Emanuel: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 23
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 25
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 26
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - 27
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - JULIE FLAPAN & JANE MARGOLIS: Stop Scapegoating and Start Educating
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CT1
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CT2
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CT3
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CT4
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - SCover1
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - SCover2
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S1
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S2
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S3
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S4
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S5
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S6
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S7
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S8
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S9
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S10
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S11
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S12
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S13
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S14
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S15
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S16
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S17
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S18
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S19
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - S20
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - SCover3
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - SCover4
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - January 25, 2017 - CW4