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Review Research paper over Police in the Schools


Police in the School and their Impact

Police Officers play a big role in the community. That seems to be a point that almost everybody can agree on. When we are in trouble, we call the Police to come to the rescue. In the past twenty years or so we have seen a rise in putting Police in our schools. It has caused a lot of controversy, especially in the past 5 years. The Police have switched from a traditional policing model to one more community oriented. The schools are where our future generations are, and the Police we put in the schools with them can be what shapes their view of Police in the future. The School Resource Officer, SRO, makes a positive impact on the school and students, and I plan to show that throughout my paper.

Due to a series of school shootings in the 1990's education figures decided that they needed to have an increased Police presence in the schools. The original idea was if they put the Police in the schools then the number of these shootings would go down or stop all together. However, in the school's SRO's aren't just Police Officers. They help with everything even if it isn't criminal in nature. The SRO's are counselors, parents, educators, and a lot of times a friend. They are the one person on the campus the students turn to when they feel they have nowhere else to go.

The SRO's main job is crime prevention. The reason they need to be stationed on campus is to cut down on response time. Instead of the school waiting 20 minutes for an Officer, they have one there in under 2 minutes. SRO's don't just take people to jail though. They also serve to educate parents and students on the dangers of drugs, bullying, assaults, and so on. They work with the administrators on the campus to find effective programs to help the students. The help in conflict-resolution with the students so they can find better ways to solve their problems that doesn't involve violence.

Even with all the positive influence the SRO brings to the campus there are still many people who think that having Police in the schools is a bad idea. Chairman Richard Durbin stated, "For many young people, our schools are increasingly a gateway to the criminal justice system. This phenomenon is a consequence of a culture of zero tolerance that is widespread in our schools and is depriving many children of their fundamental right to an education" (James). There is a lot of data and evidence that SRO's are helping the school campus and students within. However, nobody can say the full impact SRO's have, because there just isn't enough data out there.

A big deterrent a lot of school systems have is a fear that the students will get arrested for low-level offenses. Examples of these are fights, assaults, tobacco on school premise, and truancy. Some believe that giving students criminal discipline for the offenses listed above leads students to commit more violent offenses in the future. They believe it helps to establish a criminal pattern so to speak.

A big deterrent to school districts not having their own SRO's is the budget. Having an SRO on the campus is a costly undertaking. The average SRO makes a salary of 50,000 a year. For the big school districts like Dallas, Houston, and Austin this isn't a problem. However, the smaller school districts can't afford this a lot of times. Even for the big school districts they can't always afford an SRO for every school, so they just put them at the schools with the most internal problems. Even with the enhanced cost it is still worth having an SRO on campus. There still needs to be a lot of research conducted, but even with the limited research many people agree that the presence of an Officer on campus makes it a safer place for our children.

I am a Police Officer at H. Grady Spruce High School in Dallas, Texas. Spruce High School is considered one of the worst high schools in Dallas due to its high drug and assault activity. It is located in Pleasant Grove and is heavily influenced by the neighborhood that it is in. I conducted my own research into the changing style at Spruce over just the past 6 years that they have had an Officer on their campus. In 2009 the Officer at Spruce made 14 arrests for assault, 10 drug arrests, and wrote 15 disorderly conduct tickets. The Officer at Spruce changes almost every year due to how demanding the work is at this campus. So, in 2015 it was a different Officer. This Officer made 9 assault arrests, 4 drug arrests, and wrote 10 disorderly conduct tickets.

The only problem with going by reporting statistics is there are so many variables that play into it. Did the Officer in 2015 make so many less drug arrests because the school's drug problem has gone down? Or did he make less arrests because he wasn't as proactive as the Officer before him? There is no way to tell until more data can be collected.

This school year at Spruce high school the administration has made a lot of changes. First they decided to add a second officer at their campus due to the increasing population of students. Next they chose two new Officers for the job. Also, Spruce has a new principal this year who is determined to clean up the school.

I spoke with some of the past Officers at Spruce and they all told me that a big reason they couldn't get the school cleaned up was due to resistance by the administration. The Officer advised that the Principal didn't want him making a lot of arrests because it made their numbers look bad. So, he didn't go and look for the problems, because he didn't want any backlash from the district.

Thankfully the Principal this year has admitted that Spruce has a big problem with drugs and assaults, and they are willing to work with their Officers to get the problem under control. The Officers have brought in multiple programs to the campus for the students including Crime Stoppers and Concilio. We have seen so far this year that by getting the students involved in cleaning up their school it is having a more positive impact on the campus. At the end of the year we will see a higher arrest rate for drug possession, but in the years to come I believe there will be far less due to the success we are seeing from the programs.

For an SRO to be effective there must be a partnership between them and the administration at the campus. They must always be on the same page, because if they aren't then the program is going to fail. Both parties should be willing to work together to achieve a greater good on the campus. Also, an SRO is very different from a patrol Officer. If you put a Patrol Officer into a campus without any different training it will be unsuccessful. Patrol Officers generally have the mindset of, "I am going to this call and someone is either getting a ticket or taken to jail". After a patrol Officer deals with a person there is a good chance they will never see them again. In a campus, it is very different. It is guaranteed that you will see a student you deal with later, because they must come back to school, it isn't an option.

It takes a special type of person to be an SRO. They need to have more patience and a good understanding of juvenile law. An SRO can't just be about writing tickets and taking students to jail. They should be ready to counsel the students they deal with, or the SRO will have continued problems with the same students. When you are an SRO, the student's success is your success. If they fail, then you have not succeeded.

Not every school has a lot of violence or a lot of drugs. Some schools are in good areas that people don't necessarily believe need to have an Officer on campus. However, even good schools can have bad things happen on their campus. On Wednesday, October 7, 2015 a sixth grader was stabbed with a pocket knife by another student at Carpenter Middle School in Plano Texas. The mother stated, "Nobody was around when he got stabbed" and "It had me wondering if anyone else has a weapon or anything, like, pull out a gun at any moment" (FOX 4).

Carpenter middle school does not have an SRO. Carpenter doesn't even have metal detectors or anything like that when the students enter the building. The student who got stabbed, George Dennis, advised that he remembered seeing the student with the pocket knife earlier in the day. He said that he had seen the other student showing it off to the other students during class. Reasons like this are why campuses need to have SRO on campus. The 13-year-old who stabbed Dennis is now facing felony charges for assault with a deadly weapon. (FOX 4). What would have been different if there had been an SRO present on campus? If there had been an SRO maybe a student would have gone and told the Officer that the student had a pocket knife on him, and this entire situation could have been avoided.

The student who stabbed Dennis advised that his knife was for protection because he is constantly getting bullied at school. If there had been an SRO on campus things could have played out very differently. The SRO could have helped the student with the bullying problem so it never got to this point. The entire situation could have been avoided, but it wasn't because there were not security measures at a school. Even schools that are considered to be in a safe area still have problems, because kids are going to be kids.

Talking about Sandy Hook and the Columbine shooting are never easy. It is hard to face the harsh reality that if an Officer had been present on those campuses the shootings may have never take place. There is no proven data that says having an SRO cuts down on violence in the schools, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If there are ways to protect the students, then why not do it? It takes a lot of people to help students as they grow up. They need their parents, educators, and even local Police to help guide them into being responsible adults.

` The fact is, there will never be definitive data showing that SRO's make a school safer, cut down on crime, or cut down on the pipeline to prison. It isn't possible due to the number of variables that exist. All we can do is look at facts and make our own determinations. The laws surrounding SRO's are ever changing. When one thing isn't working, they will make a new law to try and make that one area better. If that doesn't work, then they change something else. It is all about evolution and staying up to date on the best ways to help our youth.

The New York Times published an article by Erik Eckholm about how more children are in court now that they have Police in the schools. A few years back they did pass a law in Texas that says juveniles cannot get a class c ticket on school property. The number of tickets juveniles were getting were very high due to disorderly conducts and classroom disruptions. The juveniles usually didn't have the means to pay their tickets so it would go to a warrant, and then they would end up serving jail time on the ticket. We realize that kids are going to do silly things because they are young. That's why they passed the law about juveniles not being able to receive tickets anymore. They saw a problem within the system, and they fixed it. It is every evolving to make things better for our future generations.

In conclusion, school resource officer's do have a positive impact on the students at their campus. It may not be able to be definitively proven, but we see it through the data. Are there going to be more arrests on a campus due to the Officer being there? Yes. However, we are also going to see a lot more children succeeding in life, because the Officer was there to help guide them. Just the Officer being on campus helps to deter crime from happening in the first place. It makes student think twice before they commit an offense, because they know that the Officer will respond to the call. School resource officers are not expected to completely end the violence on the campus. That will never be possible, but they do help with a vast majority of it.

There is a big strain in the communities with Officers. A lot of people only see Police when they are going to jail, and that is a problem. With Police being in the school the students are able to see that we are people too. We aren't just around when somebody needs to go to jail. We are there to support them. We are there to give them advice, help them with anything they need, and be a resource to them for information. Being an SRO is about building a relationship with the students. We go to their volleyball games, help them with their homework, and go to their graduation. We help them strive to become better than what they think they can be. SRO's have a very positive impact on the schools and the students within. They are there to help the students, and that is the end goal.


Works Cited

"Plano Boy Attacked by Classmate with Pocket Knife". Fox 4. 7 October 2015. Web. 8 October 2016.

Travis, Lawrence F and Coon, Julie K. "The Role of Law Enforcement in Public School Safety:
A National Survey". University of Cincinnati. N.d. Web. 08 October 2016.

James, Nathan and McCallion, Gail. "School Resource Officers: Law Enforcement Officers in schools". Congressional Research Service. 26 June 2013. Web. 08 October 2016.

Thomas, Ben. "Law Enforcement in School: How to Ensure Success". Premote Prevent. 28 March 2013. Web. 08 October 2016.

Atkinson, A.J. "Fostering School- Law Enforcement Partnerships". Northwest Regional Education Library. September 2002. Web. 08 October 2016.

Sneed, Tierney. "School Resource Officers: Safety Priority or Part of the Problem?". US NEWS. 30 January 2015. Web. 08 October 2016.

Eckholm, Erik. "With Police in Schools, More Children in Court". New York Times. 12 April 2013. Web. 08 October 2016.

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My usual issues are going to be the length of the paper, the paper not having a good flow, and punctuation formatting errors.

Nov 8, 2016   #2
Fhallon, when you present the facts behind your discussion try to balance the discussion by offering solid evidence regarding the issue. That way you don't end up saving all of your evidentiary argument for the last part where they do not have any sense anymore. There is no sense in presenting the evidence of how the SRO's could be arresting students for wrong or misdemeanor charges at the end of the essay when you already discussed that issue early on. Remember, the correct way to discuss a research paper is :

Topic + Reasoning + Evidence = Solid Argument

Also, don't introduce yourself as a police officer in the middle of the essay. Mention that as part of the reason why you decided to discuss this topic and why you feel that you are in an authoritative position to make conclusions based on facts of the issue. Give yourself credibility early on in the presentation so that the professor will give your opinion more credence and importance.

The length can be shortened by adjusting the points where you insert your evidence regarding the discussions. You may not need to present all of the evidence you have now, or you can delete some parts because they become superfluous once the essay is revised for content position.


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