In the aftermath of high-profile cases of police officers using excessive force on students, the Obama administration released a set of tools for school districts and police departments, the U.S. Department of Education announced.
“As educators, we are all bound by a sacred trust to protect the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children, youth and the young adults within the communities we serve,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., emphasized in a statement.
It is part of the administration’s effort to end zero-tolerance disciplinary policies that disproportionately impact students of color and those with disabilities.
The Departments of Education and Justice sent letters to states, colleges, school districts, and police departments that provide school resource officers. The letters emphasize the need for “well-designed SRO programs.”
Information packets included resources to help school districts and law enforcement agencies review and revise their policies if necessary. The goal is to improve school safety while safeguarding civil rights.
King stated that police officers could be an asset in achieving school safety. “But we must ensure that school discipline is being handled by trained educators, not by law enforcement officers,” he added.
This comes on the heels of a South Carolina prosecutor’s decision not to indict a sheriff’s deputy shown on video manhandling a female student at Spring Valley High School. She was arrested for refusing to surrender her mobile phone or leave the classroom.
The video, which went viral, sparked a national conversation about whether schools should use police officers to discipline students for noncriminal behavior.
SOURCE: Dept. of Education | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter