Study: Number of black students — not crime — the major factor in a school’s decision to hire cops

Study: Number of black students — not crime — the major factor in a school’s decision to hire cops

Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Two professors, Tim Servoss, professor of psychology at Canisius College in New York, and education professor Jeremy Finn at the State University of New York at Buffalo, have performed research they plan to present in full in spring showing that the prevalence of police in schools correlates to the number of black students in those schools.

Their research, previewed to Talking Points Memo, looks at the presence of school-based security, often referred to as school resource officers (SROs). In their study, they controlled for the presence of neighborhood crime and school misconduct and still found that the presence of African American children is the major factor in a school’s decision to deploy SROs.

“To the extent that police in schools may contribute to the disproportionate arrest of African-American students, the use and/or role of police in schools should require careful reexamination,” says the overview provided to TPM.

They also found disparities between the arrests that occurred within the schools with SROs. “In the average school without police, the black-white disparity in arrests was negligible,” but in schools that had police, black students were 2.2 times more likely to be arrested than white students.

“These results suggest that the implementation of security measures are at least partially based on the perceived threat of the African-American student population rather than any objective dangers within (crime or misconduct), or in the neighborhood (neighborhood crime) surrounding the school,” they conclude.

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