Violence against students at the hands of School Resource Officers (SROs) is unfortunately nothing new in America’s schools. However, each new incident reminds us of the urgent need to address the problem – which continues unabated. The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is extremely alarmed by two incidents last week in two Florida schools involving an SRO slamming a student’s head on the ground and another student being tasered.
These incidents are a reminder that too often SROs escalate, rather than de-escalate conflict and reinforce the cruel reality that police violence permeates many aspects of our society, including our schools. SROs, who are law enforcement, have a disproportionately negative impact on students of color and students with disabilities. Their continued presence in schools is inappropriate and antithetical to the goal of education.
“It is totally unacceptable that students continue to be violently restrained by SROs in schools today and these two incidents in Florida highlight what many students face on a regular basis,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “The brutal treatment of students by SROs has become almost standard operating procedure. In order to ensure safe schools, we must put an end to this by eliminating SRO programs from our nation’s schools” continued Decker.
The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) network has long addressed restraint related deaths and injuries regularly in their work. In addition, NDRN has supported several legislative proposals that would regulate the use of restraint in schools and we also support policies that would phase SROs out of schools. We again call on all government officials to work toward ending America’s epidemic of police violence.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.