Article: Students, Civil Rights Groups Say ‘No’ to School Cops

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The following article by Greg Toppo appeared in USA Today:

As post-Newtown proposals aimed at making U.S. schools safer take shape, civil rights groups are taking an unusual stand, saying “no thanks” to more police in school.

Several groups have already told Congress that more armed officers in schools won’t necessarily make students safer. On March 28, a coalition of young people from across the nation announced its opposition to “the deployment of additional armed guards” in schools.

“We don’t need more guns,” said Judith Brown Diannis of the Advancement Project, a coalition of civil rights groups that supports the students. “We need people who can build relationships with young people.”

Hers and others are pushing for schools to hire more counselors and social workers, saying the threat from outside intruders like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is exceedingly rare. “Unfortunately, when these tragedies happen, we never make the choices that are about the long-term solutions,” she said.

The Obama administration has proposed adding 1,000 more school resource officers (SROs), counselors, social workers and school psychologists. On Jan. 16, President Obama unveiled a “Comprehensive School Safety” program that would give schools and local law enforcement agencies $150 million for new personnel, with the Department of Justice slated to develop a model for SROs.

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