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Report: More officers lead to more arrests of students of color

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Watchara Phomicinda
MediaNews Group / The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images
A local children’s advocacy group has found that placing more officers in schools actually has a negative effect on certain students.

Schools in Connecticut and across the country have been installing extra police, known as school resource officers, in response to threats of violence. A local children’s advocacy group has found that placing more officers in schools actually has a negative effect on certain students.

Students of color are disproportionately impacted by the presence of police officers in Connecticut schools, according to a report released on Wednesday by the New Haven advocacy group Connecticut Voices for Children.

“We hear the stories on the news about violent incidents happening in schools, and people are generally scared [of] that. They want safer schools and the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘well, we should have a police officer in the school,’” said Samaila Adelaiye, a co-author of the report. “However, when we did our analysis, we didn’t find any evidence that suggests that the presence of SROs [school resource officers] made schools safer.

The report that found students in schools with resource officers were at least three times more likely to be arrested than students in schools that don’t have them.

Also, the percentage of Black students arrested is 17 times higher in schools with officers and 10 times higher for Latino and Latina students, according to the report.

Connecticut Voices for Children recommends that local schools stop hiring school resource officers and instead hire more behavioral health counselors.

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