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Teaching Tolerance magazine: Police in schools put vulnerable students at risk of being unnecessarily pushed into justice system

Parents and educators may assume that police patrolling school hallways make for safer schools, but mounting evidence is showing that the practice can needlessly push some of a school’s most vulnerable students out of class and into the justice system.

Parents and educators may assume that police patrolling school hallways make for safer schools, but mounting evidence is showing that the practice can needlessly push some of a school’s most vulnerable students out of class and into the justice system, according to the summer issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine, released today.

The article – “False Sense of Security” – examines research that shows children of color, children with disabilities and LGBT youths are more likely than their peers to be pushed into the justice system, often over routine discipline matters that have become the purview of police officers in many communities.

“Everyone wants to ensure that school is a safe place for a child to learn and grow,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “But educators must be aware that putting police officers in their schools doesn’t magically solve their problems. It raises a host of other issues. Far too many schools have handed routine discipline matters over to the police. Students should not end up in the justice system over a dress code violation.”

The article offers best practices for schools and highlights how communities in Georgia, California and Colorado are creating safer and more nurturing schools.

The issue of students in the justice system is also explored in “Girls, Interrupted,” which finds that a growing number of young women are being funneled into juvenile detention halls and ultimately into the adult justice system.

Safe schools are examined from a different perspective in “Under Attack,” which investigates how teachers can be bullied by colleagues and what schools can do about it.

Learning from the Inside” looks at how educators can learn from colleagues teaching in locked facilities, such as youth correctional centers.

The issue’s cover story – “Sex? Sexual Orientation? Gender Identity? Gender Expression? – explores how educators can make their schools a more welcoming place for gender nonconforming students by learning about concepts such as gender identity and gender expression and using the correct terminology with students. “A Letter to My Teenage Self” examines the struggles of a transgender teen from the personal reflections of a former teacher in San Francisco.

Teaching Tolerance magazine, published three times a year, is the nation’s leading journal serving educators on diversity issues. It is distributed free of charge to more than 400,000 educators nationwide.