Critical Questions and Steps for Leaders to Reduce or End School-Based Policing
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, often by law enforcement, have added momentum and renewed urgency to longstanding efforts to rethink and perhaps eliminate the relationship between police and schools. In early June 2020 — just a few days before the publication of this resource — Minneapolis Public Schools and Portland Public Schools terminated their contracts with city police. Many other districts are considering proposals to do the same.
Police were first invited into school buildings in the 1950s, and their presence increased dramatically throughout the 1990s in response to widespread fear of mass shootings. Decades later, the great weight of the evidence research demonstrates that school-based policing does not improve school safety. In fact, there is considerable, and growing, evidence that the presence of police in schools leads to serious and long-lasting negative impacts on students, particularly students of color, students with disabilities, and students perceived as LGBTQ+.
"Critical Questions and Steps for Leaders to Reduce or End School-Based Policing" simplifies and synthesizes the latest research, identifies some key additional resources, and provides tactical ideas for how leaders can engage in and sustain this important conversation. This short guide is designed to aggregate and amplify the existing work of advocates, researchers, community organizers, and students in order to offer practical questions and next steps for school and district leaders whose responsibilities have always included school safety.
The evidence is clear: Ensuring all students are safe requires a reevaluation of schools’ relationship with law enforcement.
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