Opinion
Education Opinion

More Security Officers Than Counselors in Some Large Districts

By Matthew Lynch — April 12, 2016 1 min read

New information posted to the 74million.org shows that three of the nation’s top five school districts employ more security officers than school counselors.

The problem is particularly bad in Miami-Dade, New York, and Houston where there may be one counselor for every 1,000 students.

That’s a startling number considering how many students these school districts host.

In Houston, the information compiled revealed that there is less than one counselor per 1,000 students and just a little over one per 1,000 in Los Angeles.

But the security personal numbers are plentiful, or at least better. In Miami-Dade, the school district employs at least six security officers per 1,000 students.

While the data for larger school districts isn’t shocking, it gives a glimpse into why so many black and brown students are targeted for suspension. Of course white students are caught in that net as well, but minority students represent a disproportionate number of those suspended.

Data presented by the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights shows that black students made up 31 percent of school-related arrests in the 2011- 2012 school year yet account for just 16 percent of the total student population.

If schools place a larger emphasis on security and safety by hiring police officers, security personnel, and resource officers, students and staff may feel a greater sense of safety but likely feel some form of fear as well.

Some security hired to work schools are untrained and not able to properly handle minor situations between students.

This all proves that we’re not doing enough to help and educate our students, rather we’re attempting to keep the status quo or make it worse. Grade school students are still kids attempting to learn, and when we alter that learning environment to one of fear littered with officers, we seriously harm a student’s ability to grow academically and socially.

Answering the problem of school violence may not totally lie with hiring more counselors, but it surely isn’t held in the hands of more police and security officers.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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