News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Local & Bistate

April 16, 2013

Questions raised about more police presence in schools

INDIANAPOLIS — Now that a controversial measure requiring armed personnel in every Indiana school is gone from Senate Bill 1, some youth advocates want legislators to focus on unrelated provisions in the bill giving school police more power.

They worry that the legislation aimed at putting more police in schools to keep students safe from outside threats will have an unintended consequence: more children arrested for bad behavior rather than sent to the principal’s office.

“We need safeguards against over-policing children,” said JauNae Hanger, an Indianapolis civil rights attorney and chair of the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative.

Senate Bill 1 shot into the headlines two weeks ago when the House Education Committee amended the legislation to require every public school in Indiana have someone on staff with a loaded weapon during school hours. The measure’s supporters cited the December 2012 shooting spree at the Newtown Elementary School, which left 20 children and six staff members dead.

The provision was later pulled by the full House, which voted Monday to return the bill to its original intent: The creation of a state school safety board and a matching grant program that local schools could tap to hire a trained “school resource officer” who is armed and has full law enforcement powers.

The bill also contains a provision that allows those school resource officers the power to arrest students for resisting law enforcement if they pull back or balk at being handcuffed or detained.   

Hanger sees that provision as a recipe for disaster resulting in a misbehaving but frightened student who ends up in the juvenile justice system and tossed out of school.

“If we’re going to take the opportunity to put more police in schools, we need to take a step back to make sure they’re well-trained and that we have the best practices in place,” Hanger said.

State Sen. Pete Miller, a Republican from Avon who authored Senate Bill 1, was glad to see the legislation return to its original intent. Miller noted his bill includes a 40-hour training requirement in dealing with students and school facilities for police officers hired to work as school resource officers. “That’s an important part of the legislation,” Miller said.

He also said the amendment that gives school resource officers the power to arrest students for resisting law enforcement will be one of the issues that will be taken up by a House-Senate conference committee that has to negotiate the final language of Senate Bill 1.

Similar concerns about the impact of increased police presence in schools have been voiced by juvenile court judges in other states, who’ve seen a surge in arrests of students for non-violent behavior that, in the past, would have been handled by school discipline policies.

In January, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges released a statement warning about unintended consequences of putting more armed police in schools.

The judges noted the accompanying sharp rise in the number of students arrested or given criminal citations at schools each year for relatively minor offenses. And they noted recent studies that show black and Hispanic students and those with disabilities are disproportionately impacted.

“The influx of police in schools has been one of the main contributors to the growing number of children funneled into this (criminal justice) pipeline,” their statement said. “Research shows that aggressive security measures produce alienation and mistrust among students which, in turn, can disrupt the learning environment. Such restrictive environments may actually lead to violence, thus jeopardizing, instead of promoting, school safety.”

Andrew Cullen, legislative liaison for the Indiana Public Defender Council, said schools that employ police as school resource officers need to develop policies that differentiate security issues from disciplinary issues.

“We need to make sure those resource officers are in schools to protect and serve the children of Indiana,” Cullen said. “And not to harass and arrest them for childish behavior.”  

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse bureau for the CNHI newspapers, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.

hayden@indianamedia

group.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Hispanic Caucus Slams GOP for Border Bill Shifts Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Rare Whale Fossil Pulled From Calif. Backyard Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake'
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity