School boards in major urban districts, such as Seattle and Denver, have expelled the police—and activists are pressuring school districts across the country to follow suit. These decisions have nothing to do with the wishes of parents, the safety of students or the merits of school resource officers (SROs). It is an act of collective punishment for one incident of egregious police misconduct in Minneapolis.
There is a reasonable debate to be had about the role of SROs. On the one hand, the rhetoric about SROs leading to mass criminalization of everyday schoolhouse mischief is utterly overblown. As the Congressional Research Service has noted, the past two decades have seen a dramatic expansion of police in schools and a nearly 75 percent decrease in juvenile arrests.
The story told by social justice activists—that bad SROs can increase tension and alienate students—has been the case in some schools. But on the other hand, good SROs, in addition to protecting students and educators, become deeply respected mentors and prove to at-risk students that most cops are good people.
Ryan Petty is a member of the Florida State Board of Education and father of Alaina Petty, who was murdered in the Parkland school shooting.
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