Over-policing high schools is not a viable solution

Armed patrollers are not required to keep students safe

Hanna Malone, Sports Editor

Editor’s note: This story was written for FSPA’s on-the-spot Opinion Column competition. The FSPA State Convention was held virtually from April 22-23.

In recent years an increased effort by school systems in the United States have concentrated on security in order to ensure the safety of students. High schools install metal detectors, conduct locker and bag searches, and even hire armed school resource officers to patrol campuses. While these endeavors are seemingly necessary, with gun violence being so prevalent in America, especially in our high schools, it is crucial to avoid over-policing campus grounds as a balance of protection as well as prerogative is required. Schools should not mirror prisons as education was not designed to constrict.

Police in schools are placed there in order to maintain safety and order. However, the broadened security policies enforced by schools sets students at unease – to be even more specific, the armed police officers on campuses. Other schools may have more, but at the high school I attend, there are typically one or two officers stationed on the grounds daily. With an increased awareness and discussion on police brutality, I have witnessed firsthand the instilled fear of law enforcement in my peers’ avoidance of certain hallways. Though these officers’ duty is to protect, their presence tends to feel unwarranted.

One of the tasks officers are assigned with is giving seminars about what to do in the event of a school shooting. But in unfortunate truth, a sole police officer may not have the power to stop something with such negative and cruel motivation, even with their training. These officers are also trained to do drug and alcohol avoidance lectures, whereas nurses and school psychologists have better requisites to conduct such tasks.

School administrators often claim that district officers are positioned at the schools for security and safety, but students do not feel safe in these officers’ presence. Instead of police, schools must establish other policies to protect the school property and, of course, prioritize the safety of the student body. With this said, schools should hire more qualified nurses and psychologists to promote mental health and inform students. To maintain order where necessary, police should be on call, but perhaps they should not patrol about the hallways armed– an office where they are contacted if suspicions arise or something needs to be reported might be more sufficient in eliminating students’ fears but still promoting safety and just ordinance.