“As seen in the tragedy at our school, poor communication between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement may have contributed to a disturbed person with murderous tendencies and intentions entering a school and gunning down 17 people in cold blood.
We must improve this channel of communication. To do so, privacy laws should be amended. That will allow us to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or to others from purchasing firearms. That could help prevent tragedies such as the Parkland massacre.”
After interviewing SROs and girls of color, the researchers found that despite the evidence of disproportionate discipline, there is little training provided to SROs to help them understand how to relate to girls of color. Educators often place SROs in a disciplinary role rather than involving them when the need arises around delinquent conduct. SROs lack the cultural competence, trauma-informed skills, gender-responsive approaches, and knowledge of community-based resources needed to help improve school climate for girls of color.
Through my work as a judge for a juvenile court in Clayton County, Ga., I have seen that this inappropriate use of law enforcement in schools does not improve safety, but actually compromises students' futures. My county's school system began using SROs in 1995, and our referrals to the court increased 1,200 percent by 2003. By collecting data on school arrests, we discovered that our African-American students—male and female—were 12 times more likely to be arrested than our white students.
In addition, our school district's graduation rate dropped and juvenile crime rates spiked. Research suggests that arresting students for minor offenses significantly increases the likelihood that they will drop out of school. School is one of the strongest buffers against delinquency, and when kids are pushed out, they do not always spend their time wisely.
Kai Koerber, a 17-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, returned to school after the shooting to see his slain classmates’ empty desks turned into memorials — and a campus swarming with police officers. To him, extra cops around doesn’t mean more people to protect him; it means more chances to become a victim of police brutality.
Kai worries that police will racially profile students and treat them as “potential criminals,” particularly students of color.
“It’s bad enough we have to return with clear backpacks,” he said. “Should we also return with our hands up?”
“Young women in Fallujah,” they wrote, “. . . are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias.”