Law Enforcement Overstepping in School Safety?

Armed police providing “security” at schools are overstepping their boundaries by arresting kids for minor offenses like disrupting class, skipping class and getting mouthy. Kids have been arrested for disruptive flatulence and generally rowdy behavior, though later they were released into their parents’ custody.

Kids acting like kids should not be treated like criminals. I am old enough to remember the days before metal detectors and armed security, when we got detention or in house suspension, or, at the very worst, a week of out house suspension.

I am most concerned about the emotional and psychological effects of policing our school as if they were occupied nations.

They are already told what they can wear, what (and when) they have to eat, ask permission to use the bathroom and get a pass to leave if they must leave before they are officially released.

Now they do so with police oversight and legal consequences of not conforming to the rules and regulations of the institution. They have no say or control of what those rules are, they are simply expected to follow them. They are there to learn to be responsible, contributing adults so they can get out, get jobs, pay taxes, support their families and continue the cycle.

Wait, are we talking about school or prison?

Does the hard line approach to discipline and a “no tolerance” policy reduce or increase violence, aggression or rebellion? I know when I was young, it was the challenge that made rebellion fun, the bigger the challenge, the better the game.

Does police presence up the stakes? As we all know, impulse control and consideration of long term consequences are not something kids are known for, because their brains are still maturing and their hormones run the show. They can’t be held accountable for the “crimes” that are and have always defined youth.

How will this inflexible approach make them feel about police and themselves?

Could the common stresses of adolescence, standardized testing, bullying and social difficulties combined be contributing factors to the rising suicide and PTSD rates among children and teens? The added elements of school policing and selective tolerance can’t help.

If the officers there for general security keep the school generally secure and leave discipline to the principal and teachers that would be one thing, but if they can’t they shouldn’t be there.

School should be about getting an education, developing social skills, defining themselves and figuring out where they fit in a constantly shifting social schematic. The process of growing up and learning how to manage emotions and relationships can be rough and rocky and it shouldn’t be criminalized.

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