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Is the presence of police in schools helping our hurting our kids?

School is very different now than it was a few decades ago. Students are face pressure to get the right grades and have the right involvement in order to get into good colleges.

Students also face a new level of danger. Between bullying and more extreme mass shootings, the fact that school is a safe zone is no longer a given.

In some cases, schools have reached out to police to help better ensure the safety of their institutions. A recent publication by The Hechinger Report discusses the impact of the growing use of police officers within schools. In some cases, this growing reliance may do more harm than good.

Is the use of police officers within schools really growing? Yes, the use of enforcement officers in schools is growing throughout the United States. The Department of Education reported that 10 percent of schools throughout the country used police in 1997. In 2014, this number jumped to 30 percent.

Is it really such a bad thing to have police in schools? Although the use of officers to help reduce the risk of a mass shooting is understandable, critics argue that the presence of police has been overly relied upon by administration.

Instead of handling typical high school antics like a lunch room fight within the school walls, for example, the kids involved may now be passed to the police to be dealt with. What once resulted in detention or possible suspension now can result in time in a juvenile detention center.

What's so bad about juvenile detention center? The piece in The Reporter discussed one student's experience with juvenile detention center. The young girl was forcibly removed from her school bus and taken to the principal's office on allegations of assaulting another student. The assault allegations involved an accusation that the student slapped another student.

She was shackled and taken to juvenile jail, told to remove her clothes and put on prison-issued apparel.

Children are very impressionable at this age. It is not surprising that going through such a traumatic event would have an impact on that child's school experience. This young girl, once an honor student and treasurer of the student council, said the experience "lowered [her] self-esteem" and "brought [her] down as a freshman."

The girl, it was later noted, was completely innocent. She had nothing to do with the assault that led to the arrest in the first place.

What can parents do? Keeping children safe is a full time job. However, we expect our schools to work in collaboration with our efforts, not against them. Parents who believe that their children were victimized by their schools have options.

Schools can be held accountable when they fail our children. Contact an experienced education law attorney to discuss your options.

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