Police In Our Schools
School safety has been and should always be a priority for school employees, parents, law enforcement and students. Violent acts in schools on all scale are sadly a part of the American culture and must be addressed. Police in our schools are one of the options to address this alarming issue but can also be an emerging problem.
Rebecca Klein posted an article in the Huffington Post outlining extreme cases of police action taken on school property. While these may be minority examples of questionable police action it should raise questions as to the right vs responsibilities of police in our schools.
Schools across the country are faced with increasing responsibilities to ensure the physical safety of students in our schools. At the same time they have to address the psychological safety of our students. The presence of law enforcement in schools provides the immediate visible presence of safety but it can also increase negative psychological effects on the students.
It is critical the use of school resource officers in the school is approached as a way to build trust between students and law enforcement. The officers assigned to schools must be hand picked and trained in interpersonal relationship skills, excellent communicators and have a full understanding of adolescent development similar to what teacher prep programs provide. The relationship these law enforcement offices must be able to forge with students will increase the proactive measures for school safety but will also develop positive attitudes students have with law enforcement.
Police in our schools can be a valuable tool in the vast tool box schools must have to address school safety. If used correctly it can have a positive impact but if used incorrectly it can have irreversible harm.