When President Donald Trump held a listening session with survivors of gun violence, their family members and the parents of murdered students on Wednesday, much of the discussion focused on ways to enhance school security. The president recommended arming teachers, while one parent suggested that undercover police officers pose as teachers and school staff. Several parents called for more security officers at schools.
There’s scant evidence that more cops and security guards on campus actually stop school shootings. There’s an abundance of evidence suggesting that more school security means more vulnerable students getting funneled at an early age into the criminal justice system.
Black children are already more likely to get arrested at school. In 2012, black children represented only 16 percent of school-aged children, but 31 percent of those arrested.
And when more cops are in school, these arrests are more likely to take place, even for minor misbehaviors. It’s a phenomenon that advocates call the school-to-prison pipeline.
“The more we add security or police forces and so on to schools, the more likely it is the students who are already at risk of being seen as potential trouble makers get swept up into the justice system or suspended and pushed out of schools,” said Aaron Kupchik, a professor at the University of Delaware, who studies this issue. “The risks are even higher for students who are already more vulnerable.”