Policy group says certain students more likely to be referred to school resource officers

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Schools are working to keep kids safe and prevent school shootings.

In Alabama, that often means putting more police in schools to protect the children.

But research has found that police who are unfamiliar with how children act in schools can criminalize normal student behaviors, resulting in student arrests.

The report “Hall Monitors with Handcuffs” was released Thursday from a nonpartisan policy group – Alabama Appleseed.

The report found that African American boys with disabilities were more likely than any other group to be referred to law enforcement at school according to the findings.

Available federal data showed this group to be three times more likely than other students to be referred to law enforcement.

Photo courtesy Alabama Appleseed

This map shows where students of color and students with disabilities were more likely to be referred to law enforcement during the 2015-16 school year.

The blue shows where children of color were more likely.

The yellow is children with disabilities were more likely.

The stripes show where both were more likely to be referred to law enforcement.

The report found that school resource officers need more specialized training before interacting with students in school, and need to clearly layout SRO expectations.

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