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Police State


TMAO of Teaching at the 408 rails at a district decision to assign police officers to his middle school. The law enforcement presence, he writes, has undermined the atmosphere of trust and high expectations that had helped dramatically boost the school's achievement and reputation. And it's a very slippery slope:

We have placed our feet upon a path that will pull us back into the bucket, pull us back down into that dank place where there is no unity, no sense of purpose, no common goal, no pursuit of excellence, just a fractured group of individuals, some getting by, some making it worse, some fighting every minute to push out the darkness that once seemed so small and far away.

The three middle schools I work in as a guidance counselor all have police resource officers. They are awesome. They are user friendly for the students and help teach students about internet and personal safety. I would never give up our police officers. They are friends, mentors, and community builders. Their spirit of cooperation goes a long way towards helping our schools be great places to work.

I just read TMAO's piece. It is thoughtful and grounded in experience. The presence of police in schools can easily become a set up for criminalizing non-criminal behavior. Mouthing off can easily become "disturbing the peace" when an officer is available to enforce it. Problems can easily be escalated rather than de-escalated when escalation will lead to arrest and/or removal.

I believe that there has been some documentation of the use of police in NY schools for such "crimes" as carrying a cell phone. There were also problems with male officers frisking female students as a part of routine contraband checks (daily) before entry into the building.

I am glad that Lee's experience has been otherwise (particularly in a middle school), but TMAO has quite a bit of intelligent commentary about what we teach students about how we see them (as dangerous elements) when the police are brought in.

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Recent Comments

  • Margo/Mom: I just read TMAO's piece. It is thoughtful and grounded read more
  • Lee: The three middle schools I work in as a guidance read more




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