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In Texas, Police in Schools Criminalize 300,000 Students Each Year

The "good guy with a gun" seems to do a lot more policing than protecting.

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"Obviously, we believe [armed guards] will make a difference in the various layers that make up school safety," said Asa Hutchinson in a news conference.

Several academics and judges dispute Mr. Hutchinson’s claim, agreeing with Texas Appleseed’s reports that police in schools turn them less into safe havens than juvenile centers.

“There is no evidence that placing officers in the schools improves safety,” University of Maryland criminologist  Denise C. Gottfredson told the  Times. “And it increases the number of minor behavior problems that are referred to the police, pushing kids into the criminal system.”

Even Texas chief Supreme Court justice Wallace B. Jefferson  called out his state for its role in the school-to-prison pipeline. "We are criminalizing our children for nonviolent offenses," he said in a biennial address on the state of the judiciary, referring to the 300,000 or so tickets issued to students in Texas schools each year.

 

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.