School-based police effectively combat some forms of campus violence including fights, according to a major new report, but their presence increases the number of students facing suspensions, expulsions and arrests, particularly if they are Black.

In fact, researchers found that the harms of school policing may outweigh its benefits. In addition to making it more likely that students will face exclusionary discipline, such as suspension and expulsion, students are chronically absent more when campuses are staffed by cops, with researchers identifying a marked spike in missed school days among youth with disabilities.

The results, researchers note, suggest that school-based police could hinder students’ academic outcomes, increase their long-term involvement with the criminal justice system and appear to “seriously exacerbate existing opportunity gaps in education.” The effects of school police on discipline and arrests were “consistently over two times larger for Black students” than their white classmates, the study found.

“There might be these benefits in terms of reduced violence, but there are also these really large costs, and costs that unequally affect students,” said report co-author Lucy Sorensen, an assistant public administration and policy professor at the University of Albany, SUNY.

“At the end of the day, I have a hard time, as an education researcher, thinking this is what we should invest money in,” Sorensen added.

Read the full article about campus cops by Mark Keierleber at The 74.