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Today’s Urban Children Have More Access to Cops than Counselors

March 28, 2016

I’ve blogged frequently about the world my grandchildren’s generation is experiencing in their public schools, but the title of today’s Think Progress post by Carimah Townes makes me think that things are getting worse. The title?

There Are More Officers Than Counselors In The Largest Public School Districts

You don’t need to read the article to get the picture… but here are some factoids gleaned from the post:

  • four out the the 10 largest public school districts in U.S. have more officers than counselors.
  • New York City has roughly six security officers and three counselors for every 1,000 students
  • Chicago (has) four officers and two counselors for every 1,000 students.
  • Miami-Adde County has approximately three times more security staff than counselors.
  • Houston has .78 counselors per 1,000 students compared to 1.16 officers.

As Townes notes in the article, the presence of police officers in schools invariably leads to the criminalization of student misconduct which, in turn, sets the school-to-prison pipeline in motion. She writes:

Chicago paints a particularly vivid picture of the school-to-prison pipeline, with 7,703 arrests made during the 2013-2014 school year alone. Fifty percent of arrests made in 2013 were for school fights. And that year, 3,414 black students and 892 Latino students were arrested, compared to 192 white students.

It isn’t just the school-to-prison pipeline that results from this imbalance of police officers as compared to professionals in the caring professions. It sends a message to all children that protection is more important than prevention, that police power is more important than counselor empathy, that control is more important than caring.

Alas, that may be where the public is. After all, police– especially those who are contracted employees— are less expensive than counselors with master degrees— especially if they belong to (gasp) a union! And it IS important to keep the younger generation under continuous adult supervision to protect them from predators and kidnappers!

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