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NACOLE Webinar Series - Policing in Our Classrooms: Safety, Discipline, and...

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Join us July 31, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. EDT as we welcome Josh Gupta-Kagan, J.D. and Seth Stoughton, J.D. to our next event in the 2018 NACOLE webinar series.

Please note that this event is open only to the first 100 registrants. We therefore recommend that you register early to guarantee your spot. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to complete the the final step to ensure that you are registered and able to join the webinar.

School districts across the country have police officers embedded in schools in an effort to provide security and protect kids from outside threats. Recent tragedies have made these priorities newly urgent – but law enforcement’s presence in the schools has as many critics as advocates. Concerns about the “school to prison pipeline,” and the disparate racial impacts of arrests and prosecutions, have complicated the questions of whether and how the police should be a presence on our campuses.

This webinar will feature two law school professors who have researched and written on these issues. We will discuss the pros and cons of having officers in schools, and then offer some concrete ideas for addressing the risks and downsides.

Apart from their obvious deterrent effect and ability to respond quickly, campus police officers (sometimes referred to as “School Resource Officers” or “Educational Resource Officers”) ideally contribute to the school environment in a number of ways. Proponents point to the value of relationship-building with young people, and the forum for positive interactions that are too infrequent in many communities. Some campus officers relish the chances to educate and mentor in their areas of expertise.

Putting police officers in schools, though, comes with some significant risks and downsides. There can be fine line, for example, between “community policing” and the sort of intelligence-gathering that erodes trust and leads to “mission creep.” School administrators may use the officers as an easy way to address behavior issues that have traditionally been handled as internal disciplinary matters. And SRO programs may compete for scarce funding with other initiatives (such as more school social workers) which could also address behavior issues.

The resultant “criminalizing” of youthful misconduct has several problematic and long-term consequences. Secondary effects include lower graduation rates and future criminality. Another troubling factor is that black students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students are statistically more likely than others to have their transgressions be referred to law enforcement and result in criminal charges.

Fortunately, there are potential solutions for these issues, including tailored training for school resource officers on unconscious or implicit bias, force scenarios in schools, and interactions with students with special needs or a history of trauma. As important as training officers is the need to develop clear, consistent understanding among school administrators and law enforcement agencies as to the role of school resource officers through memoranda of understanding, and policies governing when school officials may, may not, and shall report incidents to law enforcement.

This webinar will explore these topics, along with strategies for developing meaningful oversight of school resource officer programs in today’s environment.

*Those who particiate in the webinar will be able to apply .75 hours towards their initial CPO certification or renewal. For more information on the CPO program, please visit http://www.nacole.org/cpo_credential_program

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