Should Deputies Patrol Schools?
On Thursday, January 10, 2013, the Lake Arrowhead Mountain News reported that the Rim of the World School Board has been talking about new security measures in schools. One of the measures that they are talking about is having police officers patrol school grounds. I think this is completely unnecessary, and could even be harmful to students and their families, because more kids will go to court for minor offenses. There are better ways to solve the problems that they are concerned about.
Here is an example of why police officers should not be in schools. As reported in a news article from December 8, 2012, an 11th grader in New York made a crude joke about the school police officer and he overheard. The officer pulled out his nightstick with one hand, grabbed the kid by the throat with the other, and pushed him against a wall. He then pinned the boys’ arms behind his back, and pulled him down the hall by the neck of his hoody. He was held overnight and was not allowed to call his parents, was not read his rights until the next day, and was later charged with resisting arrest. This is an example of how normal teenager activities can be turned into something criminal when there are police officers on school campuses.
To solve the problem of police abusing power, the Clayton County Georgia School District limited police authority. Those limitations prevented officers from arresting students for most misdemeanors. For example, if a student constantly gets in fights, the student is entitled to counseling.
The article that reported the abuse of power in New York suggested removing the School-to-Prison pipeline. The School-to-Prison pipeline is created in part through zero tolerance policies. The ACLU says that zero tolerance policies, “criminalize minor infractions of school rules.” Having police present turns something that would have been handled with detention into a court appearance, fines, and...