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Education Crime Government United States News

When Schools Are the Police 725

Posted by timothy
from the but-daily-metal-detectors-are-perfectly-nice dept.
First time accepted submitter Is Any Nickname Left writes "The Washington Post has an article on school systems with their own police forces. It focuses on Texas, which has the highest number of 'School Police Departments,' of which there are so many they have their own trade association. Highlights: 1) Houston fourth-grader stood on a stool so he could see the judge. He pleaded guilty. To a scuffle on a school bus. 2) 275,000 juvenile tickets in fiscal 2009, to students as young as 5. 3) Austin middle school student ticketed after she sprayed herself with perfume when classmates said she smelled. 4) a 17-year-old was in court after he and his girlfriend poured milk on each other. 'She was mad at me because I broke up with her,' he said. I waiting for the Alamo Heights Special Airborne Brigade and SEAL TEAM CROCKETT."
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When Schools Are the Police

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  • obviously (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Monday August 22, 2011 @01:55PM (#37169878) Homepage Journal

    bag them while they are still young.

    Police state? Hell, it's police kindergarten.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Seriously.

      While my HS, and most in the district, had police officers, they were there for only two purposes - control of drugs and weapons (knives, shivs, guns... not milk). Even if a fight broke out, it was the teachers and the administration that handled it, not the cop.

      yeah, using police for minor school infractions like that, that's just stupid. If it weren't for the weapons being a real problem, I'd say it was stupid to have the cop in the schools of the district I went to, but honestly, the teachers a

      • Re:obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Duradin (1261418) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:18PM (#37170200)

        Blame the helicopter parents and their ravenous lawyers. Grab a kid to break up a fight? Law suit. Yell at a kid to break up a fight? Law suit. Make a kid feel sad for any reason (little johnny just wanted to stab someone, is that so bad?)? Law suit.

        • Citations for any of that? There might be a perceived risk of lawsuit in that situation, but a quick Google search turns up many, many more instances of people suing the school after their kid gets bullied for years on end without the bullies being punished. In fact, the only instances I see on the first page of results are parents suing for wildly inappropriate punishments (locked in a broom closet for 8 hours or tasered in the class room). The only instance that I wouldn't agree with the parents' actio

          • by Duradin (1261418)

            Try googling "teacher sued for breaking up fight", you won't have to type the whole thing, by the time you get to sued it will be the second option.

      • Re:obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by scottbomb (1290580) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:41PM (#37170474) Journal

        And at the other extreme, I have heard news stories about: A kid gets arrested for having a butter knife in his lunch box. A kid gets busted for possession of Tylenol. Another kid gets in trouble for sharing cupcakes. Kids getting sanctioned for holding hands in the hallway. The schools crack down so hard on these miniscule infringments that they MAKE THE NEWS. With schools worrying about all this crap, we wonder why they're not learning to read and write??

      • by RogerWilco (99615)

        I still find it odd that the USA has a culture that's so much more violent than any other western country I know.

        If someone tried to station police officers at any school in my country, they would be laughed at. I think that would be true nearly everywhere in Europe.

        Can someone explain to me, why the USA is so violent?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by msauve (701917)
          "Can someone explain to me, why the USA is so violent?"

          It's hard [bbc.co.uk] to understand, [dailymail.co.uk] isn't it? [dailymail.co.uk]
        • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Monday August 22, 2011 @04:15PM (#37171786) Homepage Journal
          Can someone explain to me, why the USA is so violent?

          Are you being snide? I should kick your ass for that...

          As an inhabitant of the USA, I think the biggest problem is the strong individualistic streak that we have. It seems like there are a lot of people who just get caught up in things and don't think of anyone but themselves, and culturally this is being reinforced. They want to be involved in everything, be the center of attention and have the world revolve around them. Short sighted people want immediate gratification and respect, and fuck you if you don't give it to them.

          Most people here aren't like this though, just enough to make the rest of the world think we are a bunch of violent, impatient jerks.
          • Short sighted people want immediate gratification and respect, and fuck you if you don't give it to them.

            Robert E. Howard, a writer of serial pulp fantasy and creator of Conan the Barbarian, once said, "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." The irony of course is that by limiting the exposure of our school age children to fights, bullies and other hard knocks learning experiences we are actually creating a ruder, cruder and less civilized society.

        • Re:obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

          by euroq (1818100) on Monday August 22, 2011 @05:38PM (#37172686)

          Can someone explain to me, why the USA is so violent?

          A few thoughts: Culture clashes from a melting pot of immigration, anti-socialism sentiment leads to poverty for bottom of society (and hence violence), a culture of accepting violence but not sex/drugs (think in terms of censorship - television, supreme court rulings, can't sell sex toys in Alabama, not enough escapism for some people, etc.).

          Probably more... you could write a PhD thesis on this question.

    • Re:obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:06PM (#37170032) Homepage Journal

      Police State training. When our generation are dead and gone, you will have this younger population come after us, raised in this invisible cage.

      Go watch Brazil, again.

      • Re:obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fastest fascist (1086001) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:28PM (#37170324)
        I was kind of thinking the same, but with a different conclusion. This is a great way to teach kids to disrespect the law. Punishments are much more frightening before you've experienced them. All this will do is trivialize getting in trouble with the law, and show kids it's not the end of the world. As someone who's spent his share of time in prison, I know it made me much more willing to bear that burden again if the cause was right.
        • Re:obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:46PM (#37170540) Homepage Journal
          Punishments are much more frightening before you've experienced them. All this will do is trivialize getting in trouble with the law, and show kids it's not the end of the world. As someone who's spent his share of time in prison, I know it made me much more willing to bear that burden again if the cause was right.

          Mod parent up. I used to do and think exactly that way as a kid. Once you've been punished a few times, it loses a lot of its power and instead of being avoidance therapy, all it does it give you a very granular lesson on risk vs reward.

          Plus, the minute you get labeled as one of those kids, you end up getting punished without offense fairly easily, so there's definitely a mindset of "If I'm going to do the time, might as well do and enjoy the crime."

          Apart form letting parents abdicate any and all responsibility for their children, the worst mistake we've ever made in this regard is treating kids like retards and cattle. Just because you're 10 doesn't mean it doesn't affect you and change you like it would an adult treated the same way.
  • Fuck the police (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2011 @01:56PM (#37169896)

    Fuck the police

  • by trout007 (975317)

    You cannot teach someone when they are not willing to learn. If a child doesn't want to learn they should be expelled from school and given working papers. Why punish those that are there to learn with disruptive people?

      • Since when are school rules laws anyways? A school says no soda. Okay but then a cop gives a ticket and a court date? What the heck. I think schools should be the same as a workplace. A workplace can have a rule no fraternizing. But dating someone at work isn't a crime (unless it is coerced) so your employer has to handle it with their own processes not pass it off to the cops. Should be the same way in school. There is no law against running in the hall, there is a school rule though.
        • Thank you for your comment, however your comment assumes that school administrators and parents can act with basic common sense and logic. That assumption is not possible in the United States in 2011.

        • For now. I see some insane catch-all "Corporate Ethics Law" being one natural extension of implementing such a system in the schools. The kids grow up one day, and they won't know any different. You might accuse me of tin-foil hatting for saying such a thing. I'd like to accuse myself of the same, but on the other hand, I laughed at people years ago when they talked about using schools as a means of forcing kids into a subservient working-class mindset by making them constantly fear the whip.
      • 12 fl oz is a lot of cocaine.

        And more than enough to share with the whole class!

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:07PM (#37170046) Homepage Journal
      Education is more important than the kids in school realize. For them it's mostly something that takes way too much time and isn't all that interesting, plus massively uncool. Regardless, they should be forced to get it because by the time they realize just how wrong they were, it will be too late. I certainly wouldn't expect a fifth grader to be mature enough to make such life critical choices on his own.
      • by Cyberax (705495) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:14PM (#37170140)

        Yeah, sure.

        Then kids see athletic students in universities getting grades just for being present (or even for not being present) as long as they are on the team. And then they see these athletes earning more than underemployed engineers.

        Sure, that's going to show them the importance of education!

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:12PM (#37170110)

      One reason would be that someone who is disruptive at age 13 might still be able to become a productive member of society if given a little guidance and education.

      If the anarchist tendencies among us said "hey if they don't want to go to school, don't make 'em" we're going to end up with half filled schools, and an even greater dependency class than we already have in society - because of course, the fact that you have achieved less or worked less doesn't mean you should receive less, the government should rob from the rich to help you.

      The social harm done could hardly be underestimated.

      • If the anarchist tendencies among us said "hey if they don't want to go to school, don't make 'em" we're going to end up with half filled schools, and an even greater dependency class than we already have in society - because of course, the fact that you have achieved less or worked less doesn't mean you should receive less, the government should rob from the rich to help you.

        The social harm done could hardly be underestimated.

        Most states in the U.S. didn't have any mandatory public school for the first century of the U.S. or so. Somehow, by the 1820s and 1830s, though, European visitors were writing home about how literate Americans were. Even when individual states began introducing mandatory schooling in the mid 1800s, it was usually only 4-6 years.

        It wasn't until the "dangerous communist and socialist radicals" became a concern in the 1920s through the 1950s that anyone really pushed kids to go to more than primary school

    • You cannot teach someone when they are not willing to learn. If a child doesn't want to learn they should be expelled from school and given working papers. Why punish those that are there to learn with disruptive people?

      Haha are you serious? We're going to allow children to choose whether or not they want to go to school? And force those that don't into child labor? These are great ideas. You'd be right at home in England in the 1700's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labor#Historical [wikipedia.org]

      The reason school is mandatory is because if it were optional, many children just wouldn't go, and their parents wouldn't force them. The result would be an overall decrease in average education level, pushing the US even further down that c

    • I would also like to point out that "truancy" is a pretty bad indicator of wanting to learn or not. I skipped all the time in highschool and undergrad but that didn't stop me from wanting to learn or succeeding. Throwing people like me into a social underclass because we don't conform to your "standard" of education will not make education more effective. But it will create a whole lot more intelligent criminals.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oobayly (1056050)

        Spot on, I used to skive off on days when my mum was in London seeing her PHD tutor. She never knew until I told her a few years ago - she asked how I got away with it - and I told her I only did it when I knew I wouldn't miss anything important, or make it too obvious.

        She now uses me as an example (she's a child psychologist) as how teenagers can make informed decisions even when they're misbehaving.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Yes, but plenty of those "uninterested" kids become interested later. Why punish those kids because of the ones that won't.

    • by firex726 (1188453)

      I think 5 is a little young for a child to be taking such a serious view on their education, or to have them be put to work.

      Also you have to look at the zero tolerance policies. Should child who is the victim of an assault be expelled same as their attacker, and then put to work? Many of these sort of violations and issues are things the school police would deal with are often times the result of these policies. If a student is the victim they get a citation same as the attacker.

      Furthermore we have such thi

    • Show me a child unwilling to learn, and I'll show you the parents and teachers that continually failed the child.

  • by nharmon (97591) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:01PM (#37169944) Homepage

    You have (rightly or wrongly) taken from the schools a lot of their powers in regards to disciplining students. So where the school can not, the parents must. Except, the parents are not fulfilling their obligations in this regard, and the schools can not hold parents thusly responsible.

    But the courts can.

    Therefore, the school will begin referring your unique snowflake to the courts when their behavior exceeds what little remedies you have left available to the schools.

    Did nobody see this coming?

    • You have (rightly or wrongly) taken from the schools a lot of their powers in regards to disciplining students. So where the school can not, the parents must. Except, the parents are not fulfilling their obligations in this regard, and the schools can not hold parents thusly responsible.

      My wife is a teacher and all of her co workers ask me if my oldest will be like one of the little hellions they have to deal with. I tell them if he is like that let me know and I will solve the problem. I have been harassed by other parents for punishing my child as I will haul him right out of places if he misbehaves because that supposedly hurts their self esteem. I see lots of other kids his age and mine is an angle by comparison, he doesn't throw sand at them, hit, throw toys, take things from others.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:02PM (#37169958)

    My then, 17yo kid (he literally just turned a week previous) DEFENDED himself against a 14yo, who started a fight. My child was arrested and charged as an adult. The child who started the fight was not charged and was given one week of in school suspension. My child is now classified as a violent offender. He's fucked until he's at least 25. In Texas is it now, literally, illegal to defend yourself.

    Police and Judges in Texas constantly prove they are incapable of intelligence, compassion, or logical application of the law. Stupidity, good 'ol boy politics, and bridged judges is an everyday event. Some judges only hold court a couple days per yet. Ya, things are that corrupt here.

    • Your best option, sadly, is to hope they die off.
    • in the same Texas with stand your ground rights

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:11PM (#37170102)

      In Texas is it now, literally, illegal to defend yourself.

      It's Texas. He should have used a concealed handgun to defend himself - he'd probably be off scot-free.

    • by Nialin (570647)
      The unfortunate facts are that self defense is only warranted when fleeing is unlikely. If your son retaliated when he had the ability to retreat, the self defense plea doesn't hold ground. This even goes for serious acts of violence.

      You're absolutely right, the policies here suck donkey balls. It's so very much black and white, with little consideration for the middle ground, trying to understand the circumstances on a case by case basis; like the sex offender laws.

      IANAL, but my suggestion, as so
      • by rwade (131726)

        Side note: Seriously? A fine for profane language? What the fuck?

        Yeah, that's bullshit.

  • It's there right and I don't thing they are being told that they have that right!

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      They're juveniles, so unfortunately they don't have that right. Juvenile courts work very differently from adult criminal courts. Basically, unless you're being tried as an adult, you're pretty much at the mercy of a single judge (with little recourse). That's what allowed those corrupt judges [wikipedia.org] in Pennsylvania to get away with what they did.

  • by Hatta (162192)

    So, are these kids getting represented by an attorney? What's it take for them to get a jury trial? Do they in fact have ANY constitutional rights in this court?

    • Having been through the juvenile system in my younger days, I can tell you that what they typically do is suspend dispositions of minor offenses (mine was pot) upon completion of a intervention type program (usually probation, drug education, some type of work program or community service, etc.).

      Getting an attorney involved in that process usually means a disposition is entered and the kid is sentenced accordingly (could be some term served in a juvenile facility).

      During your suspended disposition, if you s

  • With lazy teachers, lazy administrators, and the increasingly popular "zero tolerance" policies which are there to cater to the laziness & not to enforce discipline, and with police forces all to happy to use tickets as means of revenue generation, should anyone truly be surprised by this?
    • It is NOT lazy teachers, you self righteous asshole.

      It is parents like yourself who do not raise their kids to have respect, that are a problem. When parents sue the school for disciplining their kids, when parents refuse to discipline their kids, and when parents refuse to support teachers; then what do you expect to happen.

      • It is parents like yourself who do not raise their kids to have respect, that are a problem.

        Respect what, exactly? I get along great with my kids' teachers. On the few occasions when my kids have done something boneheaded, their teachers have emailed me and I addressed the problem at home. It's a two-way street, though: I respect those teachers because they deserve it (which is the default setting for teachers until proven otherwise).

        In contrast, my oldest had a terrible teacher when she graduated from one school and started in another. I'll skip the details, but the essence was that my daughter w

      • by swalve (1980968)
        Yeah, schools and teachers were basically invented because parents have better things to do than educate their children, and aren't very good at it on top of that. That's why they are CALLED teachers, because they are the ones who are paid good money to TEACH students.
  • Our zero tolerance policy will save the children!

    (aside)Now where did I go an hide that sarcasm tag?

  • by Scareduck (177470) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:04PM (#37169992) Homepage Journal

    It is indoctrination, the inculcation of the reflex to knuckle under to petty authority. Pedagogy takes a distant second to this primary urge.

    • by Necroman (61604) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:50PM (#37170602)

      I believe you are very disconnected from the school system. When you went through school, did you get the feeling that they were just there to beat you down and make you submit?

      I went through the public school system (be it 12 years ago), but I was under the impression that the teachers were there to help students learn. You should go talk with some teachers, I can tell you that most of them love teaching children and watching them learn. They love to see them grow. Many teachers do what they do because they enjoy it.

      The public school system is there to make sure everyone has an education available to them. Parents that don't want their kids to go through the system are free to home school their children (except for in California, where you have to have a teacher certificate to home school).

      As for the public school system, the people above teachers (administration of the system) are going to be a mix of people that enjoy teaching and people with bureaucrat type personalities. Luckily, most students do not need to interact with the administrator all that often.

      And the reason kids need to "knuckle under" to the teacher and administration is because you have 1 teacher to 30+ kids now adays. A teacher cannot easily control every single child in the room. One kid being disruptive is going to ruin the learning experience for the other 29 kinds in the room. If the teacher believes that they cannot deal with the kid themselves, they push it up to the administration to deal with. But with all the lawsuits in the past decade, teachers are scared shitless of being sued themselves so they really can't do much anymore.

  • There's a lot of examples in TFA that are just silly. But there's also a lot of instances where schools don't go far enough. Sorry but if at age 15-18 you hit somebody at class, that's assault. I never understood why someone who is old enough to know the law be allowed to skirt it. If it's against the law when you are 25, it should be against the law when you are 17. Too many kids get away with crap in their teens and continue that into their adult life because they were never corrected.
  • 3) Austin middle school student ticketed after she sprayed herself with perfume when classmates said she smelled

    Oh how I wish this would have happened to both the girls constantly spraying perfume and the guys constantly spraying axe when I was in school.
    I've always had a sensitive nose, and they would just douse themselves with the stuff. I swear you could light a match nearby and they'd catch fire.
    At least the perfume, for the most part, had a halfway decent smell. Guys? Women don't like the smell of a chemical shitstorm, ask any female. Put the axe away.

  • ...is a perfect example of why schools need to spend more time teaching and less policing. Holy crap that's some bad grammar! I think it actually physically hurt my brain trying to understand it.

  • Law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teun (17872) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:22PM (#37170256) Homepage
    There's a serious lack of law in a state where schools are allowed to run their own police force.

    There's a serious lack of law in a state where a school needs to run their own police force.

    There's a serious lack of public moral in a state where voters allow the previous two issues to exist.

  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:25PM (#37170280) Journal

    It worries me because of things like the recent "Kids for Cash" [jlc.org] scam in Pennsylvania in which kids, unrepresented by lawyers, received huge out-of-state sentences for infractions that should have netted them a suspension or a week or two in jug. Two judges received millions in kickbacks. At least one kid took his own life. Who knows how many basically decent kids were introduced to lives of crime or otherwise psychologically damaged. In other words, I don't trust the governments that implement this kind of stuff.

    On the other hand, we have parents assaulting teachers over a bad grade, big kids bringing in arsenals, little kids showing up with Daddy's (or Mommy's boyfriend's) handgun that they found under a sofa cushion, kindergarteners arriving with stashes of crack cocaine--the list is endless, and obviously teachers can't deal with these sorts of infractions. It's a huge problem, but I'm not sure police forces are the answer. Otherwise, all of the sudden every childish misbehavior is going to start looking like a major felony.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:26PM (#37170298) Homepage

    State governments are complaining about teacher's unions, but they have money to fund their own police departments? WTF? That's almost as bad as spending one dollar out of every four on the military, then telling people on Social Security and Medicare we need to cut their programs.

  • Cash for Kids (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DanLake (543142) <slashdotNO@SPAMlakepage.com> on Monday August 22, 2011 @02:28PM (#37170314)

    Just this month, Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for taking a $1 million bribe from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as "kids for cash.". http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/11/national/main20091371.shtml [cbsnews.com]

    This can happen to your kids too! I am so sick of all of the "unique snowflake" crap from people on here saying the schools and state should be able to do whatever they want to my kids to get them "in line". We homeschool all of our kids, are extremely respectful to all of them and treat them with the same respect and dignity I want for myself. I will never send them off to be harassed by the state and turned into a tool for the elites or a cog in the wheel. They live their lives along with us in the "real world" and are charting their own course rather than the one defined by the government, political, religious and corporate sponsors of education.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2011 @03:30PM (#37171164)

    Isn't it a good thing we have money for the police state but not for a lower student:teacher ratio?

    If we herded all the students into one giant room, think of the cost savings, one teacher per room, no need for administrative staff and such. Just cops ready to write tickets (and generate revenue).

  • No child left behind. Hey, I know... let's elect another President from Texas. So far every one of them has started a war (and on shaky circumstances, too) and screwed not just the Texas school system but the National one as well.

    But I'm sure the next one will be ok.

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