More Schools Are Ending Contracts With Cops Following Protests Over The Killing Of George Floyd

from the more-good-news-all-around dept

Putting cops in schools has proven to be a disaster. Treating discipline problems like criminal acts has turned students into criminals and placed vulnerable kids in the hands of sadists who feel force deployment and power flexing are the best responses to common in-school issues.

The latest public response to the killing of an unarmed black man by a white cop has supercharged the debate over police presence in schools. The flash point for these demonstrations acted first. The Minneapolis school board dumped its contract with the police department and at least one state college followed suit.

It's now happening elsewhere. C.J. Ciaramella reports for Reason that Portland, Oregon's schools will no longer play host to local police officers.

School resource officers (SROs) will no longer patrol the halls of K–12 public schools in Portland, Oregon—the latest major city to announce, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, that it's pulling police out of schools.

Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler announced Thursday that the Portland Police Bureau would be disbanding its Youth Services Division and reassigning all its officers. "Leaders must listen and respond to [the] community," Wheeler tweeted.

The $1 million budget will be distributed to more of the community, supporting counselors and social workers better equipped to handle school disciplinary issues.

The contracts are dominoes. Minneapolis knocked its over and others are following. Reason reports another college -- Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts -- has also discontinued its partnership with local law enforcement.

And there's more on the way. Denver, Colorado may be the next major city to end its participation in the school-to-prison pipeline.

From on top of a trailer mounted with massive speakers, Denver Public School Board Secretary Tay Anderson stopped a Black Lives Matter march a few blocks in on Sunday to make an announcement many were hoping for.

“Director Jennifer Bacon (vice president of the school board) and I are proud to announce we have the votes to officially end the contract with DPD (Denver Police Department) and DPS (Denver Public Schools),” Anderson said to cheers and applause. “We still will have safe and welcoming schools for all. It is our time to end the school to prison pipeline with bold actions.”

Prince George, Maryland has already dumped its contracts with cops, citing the numerous negative effects of this unhealthy relationship.

During a virtual budget committee meeting Monday night, members voted to cancel the board’s school resource officer contract with the Prince George’s County Police Department and all other police departments in the county, citing research showing that their presence in schools is often associated with higher rates of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests.

Edmonds, Washington is considering the same thing, although the board seems less inclined to move swiftly or decisively.

At the Edmonds School Board’s June 9 business meeting, the board of directors had a lengthy discussion on whether the district should renew contracts with local law enforcement to provide police officers — known as school resource officers or SROs — on high school campuses. Instead, the board would take time to review whether having SROs on campuses is in the best interest of students’ safety.

There will be more as the weeks go on. Activists are seizing this moment to push for the end of contracts in multiple cities around the nation. It's going to be pretty difficult for city and school administrators to push back, now that they can't conveniently ignore the violence perpetrated by police officers on adults. Continuing to allow an occupation now mostly known for biased tactics and excessive force deployment to handle children would be incredibly irresponsible.

Filed Under: george floyd, police, police in schools, school resource officers, sro


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 12:10pm

    A matter of proportional response

    You don't nail together a picture frame with a sledgehammer.

    You don't break out an industrial crane to pick up a soup can that fell off the counter.

    And you don't employ police to keep children in line at a school.

    Police should never have been tasked to act as 'security' in schools in the first place, and the sooner they're all gone and teachers and staff take up the slack the better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      arp2 (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:52pm

      Re: A matter of proportional response

      ...or someone who is trained in de-escalation, etc. but can be physical (in a measured way), if absolutely, positively, needed. I just worry that once school starts up, we're one school shooting away from cops being back in schools.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:18pm

        Re: Re: A matter of proportional response

        ...or someone who is trained in de-escalation, etc. but can be physical (in a measured way), if absolutely, positively, needed.

        Right. I come from a family of special educators, so I'm aware there are situations where children become violent and need to be restrained -- but that's not a job for police, it's a job for people who are trained to deal with children who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or just subject to puberty-induced mood swings.

        Just because someone is violent and dangerous doesn't mean they're a criminal, or that a police officer is the person best equipped to handle the situation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        mhajicek (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 9:43pm

        Re: Re: A matter of proportional response

        There's a world of difference between armed guards protecting the kids, and armed guards keeping the kids "in line".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 16 Jun 2020 @ 5:01am

        Re: Re: A matter of proportional response

        I just worry that once school starts up, we're one school shooting away from cops being back in schools.

        And did the cops ever keep a school shooting from occurring? I don't seem to remember the celebrations from no more school shootings when the cops were brought in the first time around. No idea why people would think it would work the second time around.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jim Croce impersonator, 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:55pm

      Re: A matter of proportional response

      and you don't mess around with Jim

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 12:45pm

    Administrators Failing To Make Decisions

    Another example of the great American tradition of waiting for a disaster to make a decision. The whole point of having administrators is to have someone who will look at data and look at outcomes then make changes to improve the system. Instead their role is to reinforce existing structures and avoid changes. This happens at the expense of the public they are supposed to serve, and that public is deeply divided and living in separate realities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      arp2 (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Administrators Failing To Make Decisions

      Because nobody was fired for making a school "too" safe, even to the detriment of the students. Add to that the fear of school shootings, insurance costs, and dash of systemic racism, and you have a the current situation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:00pm

    About Discipline

    Once upon a time, kids in school didn't dream of laying a finger upon a teacher or school administrator. Otherwise, the kid would be swiftly and permanently expelled.

    About 15 years ago, I had acquaintances with school teachers who had been personally involved in altercations with students. The kids would throw punches at teachers. One teacher got pepper sprayed. The schools had gone too easy on the kids. The next progression in the cycle was to wait for the kids to become violent, and then have the school cop make the arrest.

    This is a major contributor to the decline of U.S. schools. Disruptive students bring down the quality of learning for everyone in the class. Sadly, schools which begin to remove police from schools will now see their learning achievement drop even more. And these are typically not schools with high learning achievement that can afford to drop down a little. The kids from these schools will no doubt be more disrupted, undisciplined, and uneducated than ever before. A recipe for more poverty and lifelong unhappiness has seldom been seen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:07pm

      Re: About Discipline

      If the only way a school can enforce proper behavior is having a cop do it then they were already doomed to failure to begin with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:33pm

      Re: About Discipline

      I wonder what changed to make young people so angry and prone to such acts? It surely has nothing to do with their preceding few generations. Surely.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:57pm

      Re: About Discipline

      The schools had gone too easy on the kids.

      I'm afraid you are missing the forest for all the trees. What happens in a school is a reflection on what's going on in society at large. When you have large swaths of the population more or less living in a generational disenfranchisement things tend to boil over, and one expression of that is that some students become violent - in school and outside.

      And the violence is just the tip of the iceberg of a society full of structural problems, and it's going to get worse unless something is done. And cops in schools is not a solution to the problem, it's just a very very messy band-aid on a societal gaping wound.

      I can only gather from your comment that you have disconnect to what's really happening.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: About Discipline

        An additional societal factor may be the 'it takes a village' concept where kids, unaccompanied by an adult loose in any neighborhood must be up to something bad. Parents and/or police called by busy bodies who encapsulate their own children to protect them from everything. Even falling leaves. Kids never learn to function on their own anymore.

        When I was a kid, and not in school, we 'escaped' (sometimes with encouragement) the house as early as we could and only returned home for meals. Lunch was a no brainer, but mom had a cowbell to 'remind' us when dinner was. No one ever complained about us, as the rest of the neighborhood kids did much the same.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2020 @ 3:36pm

      Re: About Discipline

      "This is a major contributor to the decline of U.S. schools. Disruptive students ...... "

      The major contributors in the decline of the public education system the US are; significant decrease in funding at both fed and state, poverty, lack of jobs, lack of education, police brutality, gang activity ... but hey - let's blame the kids, it's so much easier.

      As you pointed out, you are not talking about schools in affluent neighborhoods. I wonder when were these poor neighborhood schools at any level from which they have declined, I think they have always been this bad. I could be wrong. As for your doomsday predictions, well - thanks for the lol.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TKnarr (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 6:46pm

      Re: About Discipline

      This is a major contributor to the decline of U.S. schools. Disruptive students bring down the quality of learning for everyone in the class.

      Oddly the most disruptive students I knew when going through school were the ones the teachers and the administrators and the SROs vehemently refuse to do anything about. They'd much rather target the targets of those disruptive students. Getting rid of the SROs will at worst not change anything because the teachers and administrators still won't do anything about the disruptive students and will continue to harass the students being victimized by the disruptive ones.

      The basic problem is that the administrators, the school board members, the rest of the adults involved are highly likely to have come from the same disruptive group of students: the highly social, popular, "in" crowd, the football and other sports teams, the Biffs of the world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2020 @ 5:40am

        Re: Re: About Discipline

        It is sorta like the refs penalize the retaliation and not the original offense because the retaliation is all thew saw. It really is a cheap excuse for not doing their job, and increasing the level of bad enforcement (SRO) is not going to make things better.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jun 2020 @ 2:21am

      Re: About Discipline

      "The kids would throw punches at teachers. One teacher got pepper sprayed. The schools had gone too easy on the kids. The next progression in the cycle was to wait for the kids to become violent, and then have the school cop make the arrest."

      Weird. Only in america.

      "Sadly, schools which begin to remove police from schools will now see their learning achievement drop even more."

      So, the statistics which apparently show that police in school makes shit worse is conveniently ignored, because someone has to stand up and defend the rights of the Boys In Blue?

      Koby, that the US has a problem with schools where we see little of the same in the rest of the world ought to mean that maybe you need to bring out an actual cure rather than slap what amount to a sandpaper band-aid on top of the injury? It's just convenient to make up for society's failings with blunt trauma, isn't it?

      "The kids from these schools will no doubt be more disrupted, undisciplined, and uneducated than ever before."

      Or, if you have your way, learn to Never trust police again.
      Because a single child abused by a bad cop (like carting a crying 6-year old away in handcuffs) means an entire school full of children in their formative years grow up to inherently mistrust law enforcement. Not a great plan.

      But hey, Koby, you do you.
      Just don't ever get children, given that apparently you think people who are taught to apply extreme force to even the smallest confrontation are suitable for "keeping them in line".

      It'sa somehow typically republican that the people usually squawking "For the children!" the loudest are simultaneously the first to advocate putting those children in the hands of people who have a distinctly non-zero chance of being sociopathic murderers. Will it take a child in the position of George Floyd before that tune changes? Or will the excuse at that point be that the child shouldn't have "resisted arrest" by crying too loudly?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2020 @ 9:48am

      Re: About Discipline

      "Once upon a time, kids in school didn't dream of laying a finger upon a teacher or school administrator. Otherwise, the kid would be swiftly and permanently expelled."

      Once again, Koby nails it. Bottom line is the system has gotten too permissive. Couple it with the concept that has arisen in the last ~30 years that education is somehow a "right", that having non-book smart kids attend vocational training instead of academic classes is "classist", that every person must attend college so as not to contribute to the so-called "school to prison pipeline", and the ridiculous concept of "mainstreaming (i.e. allowing severely dysfunctional kids disrupt normal classes) … all contribute to the pitiful state of schools in the USA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 16 Jun 2020 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re: About Discipline

        He doesn't "nail it", he blames the kids as the root cause of all the problems in the school.

        The problem is a society at large. Anyone just pointing at the kids saying: "Look how bad they are! They are the cause of all the problems!" overlooks this and will never push for a solution to fix the root cause, a broken society.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 1:22am

        Re: Re: About Discipline

        "Once again, Koby nails it."

        Translation: "I, Baghdad Bob, hereby throw all my credibility behind Koby who obviously shares my values of believing 6 year olds are to be handled by potential serial killers".

        "Bottom line is the system has gotten too permissive."

        So how come the even more permissive schools in europe don't have anywhere near those problems you envision? Are US children especially cursed by the Evil Fairy of Do-no-good? Do they pop out of their mothers toting a bag of crack cocaine in one hand and a shank in the other?

        "Couple it with the concept that has arisen in the last ~30 years that education is somehow a "right"..."

        Article 26 of the declaration of Universal Human Rights, of which the US is a founder and co-signator. And it's been around since 1948. SCOTUS made a ruling that within the US this is also a direct outcome of constitutional law (1982 Plyler v. Doe). It is, in fact, a globally acknowledged "right".

        So are you just uneducated or actively hostile to the concept of human rights? Because the general trend of your argument holds both malice and ignorance in equal parts so far.

        "...that having non-book smart kids attend vocational training instead of academic classes is "classist"..."

        Ah, the old "Durn kids wantin' ta get book learnt and get ideas! Oh, lawdy!" argument. That one never gets old...wait, hell yes it does. It takes a special kind of moron to actually advocate that higher education should be considered undesirable. From which trailer park are you even writing that drivel?

        "...that every person must attend college so as not to contribute to the so-called "school to prison pipeline""

        Once again the US would be, if your assumption is true, the only nation which has a problem understanding this. Higher education lowers crime. Even the most vociferous naysayers gave up trying to gainsay that well over a century ago...until you came along, that is.

        "...all contribute to the pitiful state of schools in the USA."

        Or, here's a novel concept; Give US schools half the funding they usually get in europe. With the multiple times the money they currently have that would get them maybe they can afford skilled teachers and educational materials?

        Your entire comment reads like just a buildup to the old 18th century argument that the only thing you need to educate a child properly is arm strength and a hefty cane.

        Some news for you. Your argument doesn't exactly lend credibility to Koby's comment. It just tells us where his conclusions come from - long-disproven 18th century authoritarianism of the "Beat them until they behave" school of thought.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re: About Discipline

        Once again, Koby nails...

        ... his dick to the floor by once again spreading braindead claptrap made without even a second of rational thought behind it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tz1 (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:09pm

    And the other half:

    Stop the Police from getting involved in collecting property and sales taxes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:17pm

    Good Start

    Let's keep it going.
    Malls, retail establishment Bars and restaurants should stop using the police for security and hire private security.

    I Also think that local individual communities (think HOA level) should hire and train their own local force that should know every resident.

    Reduce the para military animal presence in our schools and communities, stop letting them practice their take down and choke holds on the citizens they are supposed to protect.

    Big police forces are BIG problem, they protect and shelter each other and foster hate in the communities they are supposes to serve.

    Criminalize police unions, they are not like regular unions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 15 Jun 2020 @ 2:49pm

      Re: Good Start

      I Also think that local individual communities (think HOA level) should hire and train their own local force that should know every resident.

      Please, please, please, no, no, no, do not give the HOAs any more power. In fact, they need less. If there's going to be any small, local forces of the type you describe, HOAs cannot be allowed to have any administrative play in it, or you're basically giving small-pond tyrants their own private army.

      (I have nothing against anything else you suggested.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2020 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Good Start

      I have to admit, I have not been to the mall in quite some time so please excuse my ignorance but last time was there the mall had their own security. I think many malls have their own security, or at least contracted out renta-cops, hell they even made a movie Mall Cop I think it was called.

      Many bars have their own bouncers, they do not like it when the cops come sniffing around. Don't know where you hang.

      HOAs ... now I suspect you are being silly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ron Currier (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:15pm

      Re: Good Start

      The last thing we want is HOAs having more power. Many are already approaching Nazi level nonsense. I was cited for having flower pots in my front yard that didn't match. They also tried to tell us that we couldn't park in our own driveways. The anti-HOA protests will be starting next.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mhajicek (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 9:49pm

      Re: Good Start

      HOAs should be banned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:21pm

    Getting the cops out of the schools is a great start! Then, if we could just get government out of the school business (or get the schools out of the government clutches, however you want to phrase it) we would really be onto something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:23pm

    This will probably end poorly. The SROs became popular as an easy way for school administrators to off-load responsibility for handling discipline issues to someone else. They are not going to want to take that responsibility back. I predict that a lot of schools dropping out of SRO contracts will soon have contracts with 'Joe's School Security Corp, est - 2020'. And not too long after, there will be a growing number of posts here about how bad an idea it is for schools to hire private security guards who earn slightly more then minimum wage to patrol the hallways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 4:36pm

      Re:

      They might be better off hiring more counselors and training teachers to handle kids who have not been taught to take responsibility for their actions at home. And as Thad said here:

      "...it's a job for people who are trained to deal with children who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or just subject to puberty-induced mood swings."

      More training, holding teachers (and administrators) accountable for competences other than just teaching or administrating. Giving some parents a good kick in the ass wouldn't hurt either, but that is not going to come from the government any time soon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 16 Jun 2020 @ 3:44am

    inherently mistrust law enforcement

    • For now this is a valuable survival skill.
    • For the foreseeable future, this will still be a valuable survival skill, and possibly (if things actually start changing for the better) a good policy to keep the pressure on to keep change headed in the right direction and discourage backsliding. Just as mistrust of government in general should be a constant state for the same reasons.
    • This will only be a bad idea when you live in Mayberry and are named Pollyanna.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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