Erika Sanzi, who writes for us at Education Post and at her own blog ‘Good School Hunting’, comes out strong against the actions taken by the school resource officer against a female student in a South Carolina school. Because Sanzi used to be a Dean of Students and has been called to countless classrooms to remove ‘defiant students’, this incident is especially troubling to her. In her piece, she reflects not only on the specifics of this incident but also on the greater concerns she has with school resource officers who lack the skills needed to de-escalate students and get them back on track to have a good day at school.
I’m not yet ready to say that there is no place for law enforcement in our schools. Truth be told, there are many officers in these roles who are uniquely skilled at de-escalation and diffusion and who become strong supports and even mentors in the lives of their students. But it is very concerning that students of color are far more likely to be in schools that employ law enforcement officers because it means they are also far more likely to be arrested in school. Despite rampant drug use and sales on some high school campuses where the majority of students are white, they will not face arrest during the school day because they are in a police free zone.