After another shooting at a Charlotte school, officials ask themselves: “what if extra security does more damage than less?”
A report by a Brookings institution shows that NC schools are not necessarily safer with extra protection and when there are police officers around the campus halls.
Some urban school districts are reducing or eliminating police presence on school campuses as a result of the report.
The report aimed to determine the effectiveness of School Resource Officers (SROs), whose presence NC law requires, at preventing violence. Howard University associate professor K. Alonzo Anderson conducted the study. He found that the additional SRO funding had no reduction in the 16 disciplinary acts that SROs conducted in North Carolina.
According to Anderson, in general, disciplinary outcomes in North Carolina improved over time, however, the improvements were not related to the additional funding of SRO, they were more from factors like academic achievements.
There Are Better Ways to Protect Charlotte Students, Advocates Say After School Shooting
Advocates from Charlotte suggest that officers’ presence results in uneven disciplinary sanctions. In fact, the report showed that SROs arrest black students at higher rates than whites.
Another report shows that student arrest and bad behavior were noticed mostly when SROs are around the campus. Perhaps, officers are too attentive and notice unusual behavior which couldn’t be seen, or they criminalize some incidents which could be dealt with in a different way.
There is an uncertainty about the question as SROs also serve their roles on campus. Those include mentoring students or sports team coaching. However, it is hard not to notice that the question has become a major one and that the officer’s presence adds some nervousness. It can affect negatively the classroom activities or make students feel mentally less safe.
It is not still clarified, whether having officers near the campus is effective for school safety. Therefore, CMS or other school districts can and should re-examine the performance of officers at the schools.
Another thing that needs to be considered is to measure the funding which is paid through their police department budget for SROs. Maybe that budget can be more helpful for the school personnel who can productively deal with students’ behavior?