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TV Station's 'Arrested at School' Series Wins duPont-Columbia Award

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A San Francisco TV station has won a prestigious national broadcast journalism award for a series called "Arrested at School," documenting how school districts are turning to police and school resource officers for matters that some believe should be part of school discipline.

The series by NBC Bay Area/KNTV reporter Bigad Shaban also suggests that schools call police on minority students and children with disabilities at higher rates than their peers. On Thursday, the series won a 2018 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. The awards are administered by the Columbia Journalism School at Columbia University in New York City.

The school had this description of the KNTV series: "An impactful two-year-long investigative series chronicled the misuse of school police officers to discipline students, which can leave children with criminal records for what is arguably 'childish misbehavior.'"

KNTV says that the San Jose, Calif., police department and 34 school districts in its coverage area that were part of the report agreed to create formalized job descriptions for their campus officers. The station says its report also got noticed by President Barack Obama's administration when it aired in 2016 and led to guidelines on the use of campus-based police officers.

The eight-part series is available here. 

Another duPont-Columbia award went to a documentary called "America Reframed: Class of '27," which provides three stories about educating children in rural areas: Appalachia, the upper Midwest, and in a West Coast migrant camp. The documentary series was produced by World Channel and WGBH, the public-television affilate in Boston.

The winners will be recognized at a ceremony at Columbia on Jan. 16.

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