School Climate & Safety Project

Policing America’s Schools

An Education Week Analysis

Debate is roiling over the role of police officers in schools. How much do they protect? How much do they contribute to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline? Should they be in schools at all? Education Week reporters and research analysts dug into the latest federal civil rights data to see who is most likely to be arrested at school and which students are most likely to go to schools with cops. We profile two districts—St. Paul, Minn., and Atlanta—trying, and struggling, to balance safety with a positive school climate.

See Also

Which Students Are Arrested Most in School? (U.S. Data by School)
Explore how student arrest rates and referrals to law enforcement compare at the national, state, and local levels.

School resource officer Derrick Hammond greets senior Kemari Averett at Grady High School in Atlanta.
School resource officer Derrick Hammond greets senior Kemari Averett at Grady High School in Atlanta.
Melissa Golden/Redux for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Atlanta Schools Start Over With Police
The school district is building its own police department from scratch, putting officers through specialized training on how to build positive relationships with students and work in school settings.
Evie Blad, February 7, 2017
13 min read
Toy Vixayvong, a school resource officer at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., keeps an eye on students in the commons area as they move between classes late last year.
Toy Vixayvong, a school resource officer at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., keeps an eye on students in the commons area as they move between classes late last year.
Ackerman + Gruber for Education Week
School Climate & Safety A Fight to Build Trust With School Police
A series of violent incidents in the city's schools—including contentious encounters involving police—has eroded trust and divided some students, teachers, and administrators, making the district's efforts to revamp school security challenging.
Daarel Burnette II, February 1, 2017
14 min read
School Climate & Safety Video 'It's Never a Pretty Situation': A Student's Controversial Arrest, Analyzed
A confrontation captured in a cellphone video shows the arrest of a St. Paul, Minn., student by a school police officer. The student, who had previously attended the high school and claimed he was visiting a teacher, was pepper-sprayed, then arrested for trespassing. The video of the incident went viral, and in response, dozens of students from the high school walked out in protest. Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, analyzes, from his perspective, how the situation was handled. To see more of Education Week's reporting on police in schools and rates of student arrests and referrals to law enforcement, visit www.edweek.org/go/schoolpolicing
January 27, 2017
2:56
School Climate & Safety Video School Police: What’s Their Role? How Should They Treat Students?
A new analysis of federal civil rights data by Education Week finds black students are more likely to attend schools with police officers present, and three times more likely to be arrested on campus than their white peers. In Minnesota, the St. Paul school district revamped its school policing program to focus less on enforcement and more on student relationships. This video aired on PBS NewsHour on January 24, 2017
January 25, 2017
6:13
School Climate & Safety Impact of School Police: Many Unanswered Questions
A dearth of research makes it difficult to know how school-based police impact school climate and student safety, but studies currently underway seek to generate more data and better understanding.
Evie Blad, January 24, 2017
6 min read
Niya Kenny stands outside her former high school in Columbia, S.C., where her classmate was violently arrested by a school-based officer in 2015.
Niya Kenny stands outside her former high school in Columbia, S.C., where her classmate was violently arrested by a school-based officer in 2015.
American Civil Liberties Union-File
School Climate & Safety She Recorded Her Classmate's Arrest, Then Got Arrested, Too
Niya Kenny didn't expect a cellphone video she made of a classmate's violent arrest would also send her to jail and ignite fierce debate over police in schools.
Evie Blad, January 24, 2017
6 min read
School-based police officers Danny Avalos, foreground, and Craig Davis, center, monitor a hallway at E.L. Furr High School in Houston in 2013.
School-based police officers Danny Avalos, foreground, and Craig Davis, center, monitor a hallway at E.L. Furr High School in Houston in 2013.
Michael Stravato/The New York Times-File
School Climate & Safety Black Students More Likely to Be Arrested at School
In 43 states and the District of Columbia, black students are arrested at school at disproportionately high levels, an Education Week Research Center analysis finds.
Evie Blad & Alex Harwin, January 24, 2017
13 min read

Contributors:
Laura Baker, Creative Director
Sumi Bannerjee, Web Designer
Evie Blad, Staff Writer
Mark Bomster, Assistant Managing Editor
Charles Borst, Director of Photography
Daarel Burnette II, Staff Writer
Kavitha Cardoza, Video Correspondent
Gregory Chronister, Executive Editor
Stacey Decker, Online News Editor
Coral Flanagan, Research Intern
Alex Harwin, Research Analyst
Hyon-Young Kim, Web Producer
Kathryn Kross, Managing Producer
Sterling Lloyd, Assistant Director of Education Week Research Center
Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, Managing Editor
Lesli A. Maxwell, Assistant Managing Editor
Swikar Patel, Associate Director of Photography
Juan Thommasie, Data Visualization Consultant
Holly Yettick, Director of Education Week Research Center

Vol. 36, Issue 19

Education Week’s data-driven journalism projects are supported in part by a grant from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, at www.schottfoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.