Race and policing
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"No Police in Schools: A Vision for Safe and Supportive Schools in CA" analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the 2019 California Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) Stops dataset, and data from Stockton Unified School District on police in schools. The data conclusively show harmful and discriminatory policing patterns in schools. School police contribute to the criminalization of tens of thousands of California students, resulting in them being pushed out of school and into the school-to-prison pipeline. Critically, the data suggest that schools underreport the number of assigned law enforcement officers, so these problems are likely even more severe.
As a result of years of persistent multi-organizational advocacy, the public has access to data on policing in New York City public schools. First passed in 2011 and then amended in 2015, the "Student Safety Act" mandates that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) post quarterly datasets. As ofAugust 2021, there are now five full school years of reporting on school policing. From the 2016-2017 school year to 2021-2021, there have been a total of 40,233 reports of school-based police interventions. During that time, Black girls represented 57% of all school-based police interventions targeting girls, but made up only 22% of the girls in the public school system.
To uncover critical information about students' experiences, interactions, and feelings about police and security at school, four community-based organizations across the country fielded in-depth surveys of their youth membership: Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), Make the Road Nevada (MRNV), Make the Road New Jersey (MRNJ), and the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC). The results of this national survey, which reached 630 young people in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon, clearly reinforce what young people have already made known: police and security at school do not make them safe. The survey also explored young people's vision for supportive and well-resourced schools.
The New Bedford Police Department reports incidents involving young people of color at disproportionate rates that are shocking in a white majority city. Additionally, there are patterns of over-policing lower-income neighborhoods, both formally and informally, as police officers are encouraged to live in public housing by rents that are discounted far below that of other residents and communities of color bearing the brunt of frequent stops and interrogations by the NBPD.The NBPD maintains a database of residents it alleges are gang affiliated, the majority of whom are young men of color. Though criteria are subjective, inclusion on the database is used as a pretext to violate the rights of listed people and, they report, their families as well. A handful of officers account for almost half of the incidents involving Black and Latinx residents. Like most departments, NBPD operates on a seniority system that makes it difficult for younger recruits to object to biased behavior – even against themselves when they are people of color.Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ) obtained the information in this report through police department data, interviews with stakeholders in New Bedford, and media accounts.
In 2021, Gente Organizada released a first-of-its-kind report on racial profiling practices in local law enforcement in the City of Pomona. Pomona Police Department's Crusade Against Black and Latinx Youth presents clear evidence of the Pomona Police Department (PPD)'s longstanding history of discrimination and harassment focused on BIPOC youth.Using quantitative data sourced from the PPD, the 18-page report examines trends in the arrests of young people— both juveniles and transitional-aged adults— under the age of 25 between January 2016 and June 2020. In addition to highlighting racial disparities in policing, the report also calls out patterns in youth arrests according to race, sex, charge level, and charge categories.
The report begins with an overview of changes in the youth justice landscape, both in California as a whole and Alameda County, and then dives into examining how existing responses to violence and serious harm have failed us, leading into what alternative responses can and should be. The next section addresses the question of capacity and presents measures to increase capacity through greater low-risk diversion. In understanding the importance of providing prosocial opportunities for youth for delinquency prevention, the following section outlines examples of the existing youth-serving infrastructure present in the County to highlight the robust network of community support already present and eager to serve our young people. Finally, the report concludes with recommendations regarding ways to improve oversight over youth justice and coordination among the many youth services in communities.
A visual catalogue of assaults on girls of color by school police officers - more commonly known as School Resource Officers (SRO's) - that have been covered in the media since 2007.
We are at a moment in time when we are collectively rethinking how society treats children. A big piece of this work is harm reduction—stemming the tide of the huge numbers of youth that have been flowing into our justice systems, and the significant overrepresentation of youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ/gender nonconforming youth.Equally important is reorienting society's approach to view issues of youth behavior and welfare through a public health lens instead of a punitive lens—looking at how can we unlock the potential of our youth rather than focusing on locking them up. When society supports youth and provides them with resources needed for positive youth development, such as good health care, housing, education, healthy food, and nurturing relationships, we are setting them on a path for success. However, when policing is heavily concentrated in marginalized communities, leading to frequent stop andfrisks of young people, then we are sending them down a different path—one in which future contacts with police and arrests are more likely.
Nebraska has 244 public school districts educating nearly 324,000 children. Approximately twenty-four percent of Nebraska public school students are people of color. Consistent with national trends, students of color are disproportionately overrepresented in schools contracting with law enforcement agencies to place police in schools. According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) data, during the 2015-2016 school year, 1,502 Nebraska students in public schools with school police were referred to law enforcement by their school. Additionally, some counties in Nebraska have schools with police, but no counselor, social worker, or nurse.In Nebraska, consistent with national trends, there is a growing practice of using police officers in our schools. Despite this trend, there is no state-specific data on school police aside from the federal data collected by the OCR. The OCR requires schools to report the demographic data of those students referred to law enforcement and the number of law enforcement officers found in each school district, yet it does not track other important metrics. As reflected in this report, we have an incomplete, yet disturbing picture of these programs.
The Denver Police Department (DPD), Denver Public Schools (DPS), and community organizations in the Denver area have built a collaborative approach to school safety and positive youth development designed to combat the school-toprison pipeline. Together, these organizations advocate a comprehensive approach to safety in which schools' disciplinary policies avoid removing students from the classroom, social service providers are substantively included in ongoing safety efforts, and students within the juvenile justice system are included in youth engagement efforts. The goals are to establish positive relationships between students, faculty, school staff members, and school resource officers; prioritize student wellbeing; and involve police only as a last resort following efforts to de-escalate conflict.Early indicators show that Denver's approach is working: In the last five years, rates of student suspension, expulsion, and referral to law enforcement have declined despite a 6 percent increase in total student enrollment over the same period. From the 2012–2013 school year to the 2014–2015 school year, district-wide in-school suspensions declined by 35 percent, out-of-school suspensions by 15 percent, expulsions by 32 percent, and referrals to law enforcement by 30 percent. What's more, the total number of behavioral incidents reported to DPS declined by 9 percent over the same period, indicating that the number of potential safety risks to students has decreased following changes in policy and practice.Viewing these efforts holistically, this report identifies a number of promising practices and lessons learned thatpractitioners, policymakers, and researchers may consider when engaging with students around the country
The Student Safety Act (SSA) requires that the New York City Police Department publically issue quarterly reports on arrests, summonses, and other police-involved incidents in New York City public schools.i The 2017 calendar year is the second year in which the NYPD reported on activity in schools by officers outside of the School Safety Division, giving a more complete picture of the impact police have on the educational environment. iiSince 2012, the number of arrests and summonses issued by School Safety Officers (SSOs) has consistently declined. In 2017, SS0s were responsible for less than 15% of arrests and 2% of summonses. However, the vast majority of police interactions with students in school are not with the school safety officers specially trained to work with youth in schools, but with other law enforcement officials, including armed patrol officers. In addition, 366 arrests (29% of total arrests in schools) were for incidents that occured off school grounds and had no relationship to the school, indicating that police may be using schools as a place to locate and arrest young people for non-school related offenses. This practice sends the harmful message that kids in trouble should stay away from school.The School Safety Division has made a significant effort to reduce the use of summonses for non-criminal offenses. In 2017 they issued just 18 summonses, down from 1,275 in 2012. Summonses for disorderly conduct, including unreasonable noise, fighting and obscene language, are not an appropriate response to student misbehavior. However, precinct officers are not required to follow the same procedures as the School Safety Division, and officers issued nearly 900 summonses, sending children into the criminal justice system for misbehavior.Black and Latino students continue to bear the burden of arrests, summonses, and police interactions in school, and the city has failed its responsibility to reduce the racial disparities in its school safety program. Black and Latino students represent 66.9 % of the student body, but 90.2% of arrests and 89.3% of summonses in school. They also accounted for 88.4% of child-in-crisis incidents, 87.9% of juvenile reports, and 89.5% of mitigated incidents. Students of color were also more likely than white students to be handcuffed for school misbehavior, even where there is no criminal activity. Black and Latino students accounted for 92.5% of juvenile reports and 94.4% of mitigated incidents where handcuffs were used, as well as 93.4% of child-in-crisis incidents where handcuffs were used.
The systemic criminalization of youth of color, youth with disabilities, and youth of color with disabilities in schools is one of the most blatant and egregious examples of structural racism and violence in this country. The presence of police officers, guns, handcuffs, and metal detectors in schools creates hostile teaching and learning environments that are reinforced by harsh, punitive, and exclusionaryii school discipline policies. Together these practices constitute what is widely referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline. As this report demonstrates, Milwaukee's reliance on punitive approaches to discipline is ineffective, costly, and, most troublingly, racially biased.