Home > Uncategorized > “Cops and No Counselors”: Report Found that “…there are more than 14 million students in schools with police but no counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker.”

“Cops and No Counselors”: Report Found that “…there are more than 14 million students in schools with police but no counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker.”

July 4, 2020

A headline for an article by LATimes writer Christi Carras in today’s local newspaper’s TV section caught my eye. It read: “Controversial show leaves advocate in tears over police relations” and included the tidbit that serves as the headline for this post.

I wrote on this report when it first came out a year ago… but the recent movement to remove SROs from schools and my sympathy for the position the police put themselves in compels me to revisit the issue. One of the reasons that schools hired cops instead of counselors is that fear is more persuasive than love… and the fear of school shooters caused school districts to “do something” to protect their students… and having a cop at the entry of a school was a visibly sign that “something” was being done. To help promote the idea of hiring an SRO police departments broadened their mission to work preventively in schools… and some police officers in some schools rose to this challenge. They managed to work collaboratively with the school district to bring or retain order and provide assistance to some students. But no matter how much individual police officers want to be counselors, it is not a role they can reasonably be expected to take on, especially in areas where police are seen as malevolent and oppressive and even more especially in areas where some police deservedly earn that reputation by their conduct.

And here’s where I have a deep concern: if the de-fund the police movement is driven by anger over the police treatment on the street when the SROs are withdrawn from school and not replaced with some kind of counseling service or some kind of non-teaching assistance then the benefits accrued by having officers present will disappear. If police/SROs were expected to provide counseling as part of their mission that void needs to be filled. If police/SROs were expected to screen students as they entered the building that void needs to be filled. If police/SRO officers were expected to serve as EMTs that role needs to be filled. In short, if SROs are taken out of school, the roles they were serving do not disappear and SOMEONE needs to perform those roles.

Maybe as police/SROs are pulled out of schools the School Boards, school administrators, and Police Departments can sit together to determine how best to ensure student safety. Maybe as the demands for health screenings increase School boards, school health personnel, school administrators, and health departments can sit together to determine how best to provide seamless support for students and families who require medical help. Maybe we can operate from a basis of love and not a basis of fear when it comes to providing our students with the support why need to attend and succeed in school.

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