Information and resources on topics of current interest
Analysis briefs delineating ongoing issues relevant to MH in schools and addressing barriers to learning and teaching
Safe Schools and Mental Health: More of the Same or
an Opportunity to Really Improve Schools
Test Scores Plateauing? Here’s What’s Missing in School Improvement Efforts
More commentaries are listed as part of the National Initiative for Transforming Student/Learning Supports, click here
In the aftermath of a school shooting in America, school and student safety
is propelled to the forefront. Each event leads to new ideas being put forth
to make sure that every student who goes to school makes it safely home.
One potential solution that gains a lot of support from anti-gun control advocates is to place more armed police officers at schools. The idea is that the officers would serve to not only neutralize threats and attacks on campus but also to serve as another kind of school administrator to aid with on-campus issues, such as common disciplinary issues.
Advocates believe that the presence of officers would act as a deterrent to crime on campuses. Additionally, advocates of this solution argue that students may feel more comfortable telling a police officer about any threats to the school....
While advocates of placing police officers in schools believe more police will make students will feel safer, not much attention is given to how this solution would make students of color feel. With growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent criminalization of immigrants in this country, the attitudes towards and perceptions of police officers held by black and brown people have changed.
People of color are wary of police officers. Many fear that they may be racially profiled leading to their safety being compromised. This attitude could affect how minority students perceive police presence at their schools. The black students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida made a statement saying that "the increase [in] police presence at Stoneman Douglas made the [school] building feel like a prison for students." Some students even felt that their school was not made safer by having police officers at every entrance. This concern shows that what seems like a perfectly plausible solution to curbing gun violence in schools can actually have the effect of causing fear and anxiety among a particular group of students.
Additionally, police officers may be adding to the phenomenon of seeing students being funneled into the criminal justice system at younger ages because of their duty to report crime and uphold the law. Before police officers are placed at the front entrance of every school in America, more time needs to be taken to examine how their presence affects the mental health of minority students.
A Personal Note:
When I was younger, I had positive views of police officers. I knew them as people I could count on whenever I felt unsafe. However, as I grew up my view began to change. I got a better understanding of the injustices that black and brown people experience in the judicial system.
Too many minorities, especially black men, find themselves affected by a judicial system that is not built to protect them. Black men find themselves lost in the prison system, and when they return to society they are treated worse than they were in prison. It does not even take going to jail to feel the effects of this system.
For me, I become nervous every time I see a police officer. As a black woman, what is usually a simple traffic stop for a white person fills me with terror. Seeing police officers or security in stores puts me on edge because I have a lingering feeling that I am being watched a little bit more than other customers. I am even more afraid for my younger brother. At 6'4" he can look physically intimidating. My biggest fear is for him to encounter a police officer and, because of his size, be perceived immediately as a threat....
Unfortunately, this is a reality for many black and brown people in America. We are taught to expect to be perceived as a threat because of the color of our skin. We learn, either through personal experience or through others, that the "system" does not always protect us. There can be very little reprieve from a life of constant fear. For me, I felt safe at school. I felt that school was the one place I could go and not feel the weight of being a black woman in America anymore. I personally do not know what I would have done if I did not have that one space to feel free. Every student should be able to experience the freedom that I did in school. This simply cannot happen when SROs are in every school.
See also the School Practitioner Community of Practice & Exchange discussion of School Resource Officers http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/mhpractitioner/practitioner(10-17-18).pdf
Related to Agencies Working in Schools |
About School Shootings
MTSS: Strengths and Weaknesses
EQUITY -- Which Schools are Taking Equity Seriously?
Why is there so little attention in ESSA planning
with respect to transforming student and learning supports?
Don’t Grade Schools on Grit
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child – The Implementation Problem
About Integrating Student and Learning Supports: Integrating is Not the Main Point
ESEA & Transforming Student and Learning Supports
About the Value of Student and Learning Supports
Common Core State Standards and Learning Supports
Making Analyses of How Well SEA, LEA, and School Websites Present Learning Supports
CHALLENGE FOR 2012: Expanding the 2012 School Improvement Agenda to Encompass Development of a Unified and Comprehensive System of Learning Supports
Education Blueprints for School Improvement, Addressing Barriers to Learning, a Comprehensive System of Learning Supports: It's About Much More than Full Service Community Schools and Wraparound Services
Predictions about the ESEA reauthorization
Moving Beyond the Three Tier Intervention Pyramid
The Tucson Tragedy: Identifying and Responding to Troubled and Troubling Students
The Changing Role of Student Support Staff: A Sample of School Social Worker Responses
How Good is the Federal Blueprint and Roadmap for Turning Schools Around?
Preparing Everyone for College: What are the Implications?
What is a School's Role in Addressing the Impact of Poverty?
Budget Cuts Threaten Student/Learning Supports
Security Measures at Schools: Mental Health Considerations
Response to Intervention
Using "Down-Time" to Plan Better Ways to Address Psychosocial-Educational and Mental Health Concerns at School
Reducing School Attendance Problems
Prescription Drugs Abuse Among Youth
Countering the Over-pathologizing of Students' Feelings & Behavior
Addressing School Adjustment Problems
Addressing Barriers to Learning and Closing the Achievement Gap: New Directions for Student Support
Homework as a Mental Health Concern
Opening the classroom door
Student Retention or Social Promotion: What's Appropriate?
Re-engaging Students in Classroom Learning
Bullying: A Major Barrier to Student Learning
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