A roundup of some of The Imprint’s most impactful stories from the past year
After the police killing of George Floyd, 2020 became a year of reckoning in America about the appropriate role of law enforcement, and that conversation included schools. Across the country, counties and cities downsized the use of police on campus, and some systems elected to defund school policing altogether.
But as in-person learning resumed in full force this fall, an increase in concerning incidents on campus had some school districts reconsidering their choices.
As schools in California’s Monterey Bay region saw an uptick in student violence, some residents wanted police officers back on campus. Meanwhile, state education officials urged counties to replace suspensions with in-school supports.
A suspension “removes students from the learning environment,” the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education president Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond wrote in a letter to California’s more than 1,000 school districts. “And it has a disproportionate impact on African American students and students with disabilities, among other marginalized groups that are underperforming academically and overrepresented in our criminal justice system.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in the spring of 2020, Rochester, N.Y. removed a dozen campus police, after the city defunded the program in its 2020-21 budget.
This fall, with a higher-than-normal rate of violent incidents on school grounds, the presence of police was put back on the table. The city has staked out some middle ground for the moment: no cops in the hallways, but police officers outside the grounds before and after the school day.
Listen: Kris Henning, a leading public defender in Washington, D.C., joined The Imprint Weekly Podcast to discuss the changing landscape of policing in schools and her new book, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth.