Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Remove school resource officers from United States public schools.
When a school resource officer in San Antonio, Texas body slammed 12-year-old Janissa Vasquez, the debate over the validity of police officers patrolling schools erupted. In an age where police officers are under increasing scrutiny for the things they do in the name of “maintaining the peace,” incidents like these become flash points and raise serious questions about how police deal with kids who, in a lot of cases, are just being kids.
Incidents like what happened to Janissa Vasquez aren’t isolated. They happen with stunning frequency. The Janissa Vasquez incident is just the latest well-known example, but the presence of law enforcement in schools has been problematic for a while. School resource officers have been identified in incidents that have involved officers beating up students, pepper-spraying them, and throwing them out of classrooms. Resource officers have even taken students to jail, at times for minor infractions that maybe are only worth a “cut it out” from a teacher.
The policy of delegating basic school discipline to school resource officers has been disastrous. Schools aren’t prisons, nor are they high-crime neighborhoods deserving of constant police presence. Kids argue, bicker, and fight with each other. They pick on each other. Even though there is a possibility that bullying or an argument may descend into chaos, that still doesn’t mean police should be allowed to roam the halls using their badges as a means to keep students in line or as justification for body slamming 12-year-old girls onto concrete.
Something needs to be done to stop the overzealous policing of schools in the United States. Sign the petition below to demand that resource officers are removed from public schools.
Dear Mr. President,
There have been numerous incidents involving children being beaten, sprayed with chemical agents, and even arrested by school resource officers for benign infractions. Some have been victims of overzealous policing of public schools without actually having done anything. Much like what we see in some communities around the United States, public schools are also routinely policed with heavy hands and shoddy judgement that routinely causes harm to students and creates an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, and basement morale.
As President of the United States, you have a constitutional duty to protect the civil and human rights of American citizens. Therefore, we urge you to take steps to impose strict bans on the practice of schools utilizing police officers to patrol public school hallways and act as disciplinarians. The practice has not shown to have much beneficial impact on the safety of public schools (if at all), but is significantly harmful to the well-being of American children.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Liftarn