Like everyone else, we were appalled by the actions of Officer Ben Fields when he flipped a high South Carolina high school student out of her desk and then threw and dragged her across the floor — all because she refused to leave her desk. Unfortunately, similar incidents are all too common.
We oppose the presence of security personnel in schools because their presence tends to criminalize normal adolescent behavior and negatively and disproportionately impact youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth. However, we recognize that many jurisdictions make use of security personnel — and that children in any school district may have contact on school grounds with law enforcement not based in the schools. Consequently, we wanted to make sure advocates for youth had access to two NJJN documents:
- “School Discipline & Security Personnel: a Tip Sheet for Advocates on Maximizing School Safety and Student Success,” our latest publication, provides useful guidelines for agreements between police and schools that protect youth and their rights, including requiring adequate and appropriate training for security personnel. In addition, it offers several examples of communities that have reduced or eliminated school resource officers, and of successful alternative discipline approaches.
- “Safe and Effective School Disciplinary Policies and Practices” is our policy platform on school discipline, drawn up and approved by our member organizations from across the country.