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Country’s Largest School Districts Hire More Security Officers Than Counselors

Country’s Largest School Districts Hire More Security Officers Than Counselors

Data obtained by The 74 has found that in three of out five of the country’s largest school districts, more security officers are hired than counselors, revealing a shocking order of priorities. 

According to the data, "New York City, Chicago, Miami-Dade County, and Houston schools all employ more security staff than counselors. New York City, Chicago and Miami-Dade are all among the nation’s five biggest school districts,” said The 74.

New York, in fact, isn’t just one of the biggest school districts- it’s the biggest.

These districts are favoring having more security officers on staff than counselors, and as a result none meet the American School Counselor Association’s recommendation of one counselor for every 250 students (in Houston there is one counselor for every 1,200 kids).

The 74 consulted various experts who all agreed that the data analysis indicates the need for an investigation as to why security officers are taking precedence on the staff roster over counselors that could be especially beneficial to in-need children.

"School counselors’ roles vary depending on where they work, but often focus on helping students deal with academic, behavior, and social issues. High school counselors play a key role in helping students get into college,” The 74 said.

This new analysis of data certainly doesn’t take away from the argument that some schools help contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, a phenomenon that happens when students are over-disciplined and their education needs are not met increasing the chances of partaking in criminal activity.

The 74 raises concerns that the emphasis schools’ place on security officers over counselors is having a damning effect on the neediest of students.

"As previously reported by The 74, the majority of states have no specific laws mandating that officers deployed to classrooms receive special training in dealing with children,” it said.

"Meanwhile, research has generally found that school counselors have a positive effect on students, including increased achievement, and decreased discipline incidents, particularly for low-income students of color.”

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/28/2016

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