Giving Compass' Take:

• Researchers found that school resource officers at public schools did not improve school safety and increased the criminalization of school discipline.

• Disproven techniques for improving safety - like school resource officers - need to be replaced by more effective methods. Criminalization is a significant problem, particularly because of inequity, in many proposed solutions.

• Read about the criminalization of Black students

We examined the effects of an increase in school resource officer (SRO) staffing on schools in a sample of 33 public schools that enhanced SRO staffing through funding from the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program and a matched sample of 72 schools that did not increase SRO staffing at the same time. In longitudinal analyses of monthly school‐level administrative data, we compared the treatment and comparison schools on disciplinary offenses and actions. We found that increased SROs increased the number of drug‐ and weapon‐related offenses and exclusionary disciplinary actions for treatment schools relative to comparison schools. These negative effects were more frequently found for students without special needs.

The study findings suggest that increasing SROs does not improve school safety and that by increasing exclusionary responses to school discipline incidents it increases the criminalization of school discipline. We recommend that educational decision‐makers seeking to enhance school safety consider the many alternatives to programs that require regular police presence in schools.

Read the full article about school resource officers by Denise C. Gottfredson Scott Crosse Zhiqun Tang Erin L. Bauer Michele A. Harmon Carol A. Hagen Angela D. Greene at Wiley Online Library.