Law enforcement officers were regularly stationed in 10 percent of schools in 1997. By 2014, school resource officers were stationed in about one-third of schools. Now, two decades since the number of school-based police officers started to explode, a coalition of over 100 education and social justice organizations are calling for a course correction.
The Dignity in Schools Campaign ― a coalition of organizations, parents and students from 27 states ― wants heavily policed campuses to be a thing of the past. It released a set of recommendations on Wednesday to promote alternatives to harsh school discipline and youth criminalization. DSC members plan to present the guidance to lawmakers during congressional briefings later in the day.
The new recommendations are the strongest that DSC member organizations ― groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund ― have ever made collectively on the issue of school policing.
“Many organizations have been saying for a long time to limit the role of cops at schools, but that varied across communities,” said Nancy Treviño, the communications coordinator for DSC. “Officially we’re coming out as a large body of folks from around the country and collectively saying we want see cops out of school.”