Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep Cops Out of Schools

I struggled with this one, because I did not want it to be a criticism of police. I wanted to do the school to prison pipeline, because I've followed it for years and people seem to think it is a new thing.

The bigger issue with the school to prison pipeline is not the cops to me, though. It is a society that prescribes police as the solutions to problems where other measures would be more effective.

The primary job function of school administrators is to deal with disciplinary issues. They traditionally deal with issues like theft and assault. I don't see why we need school resource officers. Columbine had both school resource officers and security cameras. It seems like a feel good solution that in reality does nothing except make people feel safe at the expense of civil liberties. Barring isolated and tragic incidents, schools today are safer than they have ever been and it is a trend which began before the extra security measures.

Even if schools must have school resource officers, I don't think they should be called upon to deal with routine matters of discipline. An administrator should be able to handle an uppity kid.

I think authoritarianism only diminishes respect for authority. That, and as soon as you remove the supervision, kids will just misbehave. The goal is to teach kids good values and to foster their maturation into good citizens. I'm not saying that kids should get away with disrupting class or being disrespectful. I just don't think that they should be slammed to the ground or handcuffed.

Something lost in our national conversation about this is that there is much middle ground between being Draconian and just letting kids do whatever they want. A large middle ground.

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