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Should Discipline Be Handled by Resource Officers or Teachers?

Is Discipline Resource Officer or Teacher’s Job?

The difficult-to-watch video of a school resource officer throwing a high school student out of her chair in response to her refusal to leave the classroom has launched an FBI investigation into the matter—and prompted school districts and resource officers across the country to pay attention.

According to CNN and the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2013-2014 school year there were more than 82,000 school resource officers working full or part time in 43 percent of the nation’s schools. 

"Such officers have the same credentials and capabilities of any police officer. But in light of where they work, they also have a distinct role as what a 2013 congressional report calls 'a hybrid educational, correctional and law enforcement officer' serving as mediators and educators as well as law enforcers,” CNN said.

Deputy Ben Fields was a school resource officer for Spring Valley High School before he was suspended without pay after a video circulated of him violently arresting a student who refused to hand over her cell phone to her teacher and then refused to leave the room.

"The videos show the officer standing over a student, seated at her desk. He puts his arm near her neck, then yanks her backward. The desk tips over and the student crashes onto the floor,” CNN said.

The unnecessary violence of the arrest captured the attention of the nation and prompted many to ask the question: why is a police officer disciplining a student in the first place?

Curtis Lavarello is a full-time school resource officer who spoke out to CNN about what he saw in the video and how both Fields and the unidentified teacher handled the incident.

"In this case, Lavarello from the School Safety Advocacy Council doesn't think this school resource officer should have been involved in what 'should have been left in the school discipline area.' Once the officer was involved, he could have deployed 'a lot of strategies’ like having the other students leave the room first.”

He says in order for schools to have and utilize school resource officers, school teachers and administrators need to be trained on how to best use them.

CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck also expressed concerns over the teacher’s decision to use the officer in this instance.

"Too often, these teachers in these schools are calling on the cops because they have a disruptive student in the classroom. This is not a cop's job,” Houck said to CNN.

Teachers and administrators: does your school have a school resource officer? If so, do you frequently utilize them for discipline? Take our poll.

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


Does your school utilize school resource officers for discipline?

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