Policing in Schools

By Jennifer P. Grobe, Esq.

On June 2, 2020, Minneapolis Public Schools terminated its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for the services of school resource officers. The board unanimously voted in support of the resolution, which stated “any continuing contract for services with the Minneapolis Police Department [does] not align with the priorities of the District's equity and social emotional learning goals.” By the end of summer, MPS Superintendent Ed Graff will need to prepare and submit recommendations to the school board on how the students of MPS will be served and safety maintained without the presence of Minneapolis PD in school buildings. 

Over the past few decades, partnerships between local educational agencies and police departments have become more prevalent. In 1975, only 1 % of U.S. schools reported having police stationed on campus. By 2014, 24% of elementary schools and 42% of secondary schools reported having sworn law enforcement on campus. Approximately 77% of public schools with enrollment of 1,000 or more students employ a school resource officer (“SRO”). 79% of these officers carry a firearm while on duty in school buildings.

A school resource officer or “SRO” is defined by federal law as a “career law enforcement officer” employed by a police department and assigned with “sworn authority” to a local educational agency. The school resource officer’s codified role is to: (a) educate students; (b) develop or expand community justice initiative for students; and (c) train students in conflict resolution, restorative justice, and crime and illegal drug use awareness.

SROs, however, often act outside the scope of this legally defined role by exercising their authority as a law enforcement officer to execute arrests. The growth of SROs in schools is correlated with an increased rate of school-based arrests. Instead of receiving school-based discipline for behavioral infractions, in greater numbers children are being arrested for minor offenses, such as disorderly conduct or simple assault, directly contributing to the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Pennsylvania has the third highest student arrest rate in the country, with a 24% increase in school-based arrests between 2013-2014 and 2015-2016.  

Click here to finish reading the full article.

McAndrews Law Offices
We are a nationally recognized firm that provides families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Special Education, Estate Planning, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and the representation of individuals involved in higher education allegations of misconduct.

Main Office: 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312


McAndrews Law Offices | 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312