School resource officers (SROs), as these police personnel are known, don’t answer to the administration of the school; they answer to the police department. Often times when a troubled student is reported by a teacher to the principal, the administration will not include the SRO unless laws were broken such as stealing or vandalism.
Police Presence Normal And Welcome In American High Schools
As someone who has taught in several American high schools over the past twenty years, I can say that a police presence is normal, and taken for granted, at least in most large high schools across the country. My personal experience runs to California, New York, Washington DC, and Maryland.
Not only that, but a police presence is generally welcome. These resource officers make friends with the students, and connect to them in different ways than teachers do. Obviously, there are some exceptions, but overall we teachers and the students feel good about having a school resource officer or two around.
“They Don’t Want To Learn, They Just Want To Disrupt”
It does appear that some SROs in some Texas schools are pushing the limits of their responsibilities, but check out what this Austin teacher, quoted in The Guardian, has to say:
“There’s this illusion that it’s just a few kids acting up; kids being kids. This is not the 50s. Too many parents today don’t control their children. Their fathers aren’t around. They’re in gangs. They come in to the classroom and they have no respect, no self-discipline. They’re doing badly, they don’t want to learn, they just want to disrupt. They can be very threatening,” he says. “The police get called because that way the teacher can go on with teaching instead of wasting half the class dealing with one child, and it sends a message to the other kids.”
This is a very complicated issue.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Arkdog
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