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Policing In School
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Concerns about school safety fueled by Violence and high profile shootings have consequently led to several efforts to reduce crime and violence in schools. Crimes in schools have become a serious problem in many parts of the world. It has sometimes escalated to large-scale violent acts and affects students, teachers, parents, police officers and the society as a whole. Violence has been displayed through uttering of threats, written or in the social media. Some examples of threats include conspiring and planning attacks, creating or sharing a hit list or talking extensively about death, violence and weapons.
The use of police in schools has seen a dramatic increase in the recent past. The school resource officers have been extensively used in schools to maintain order, safety while securing school environments. Armed police officers are stationed in the school especially in high schools. This has been associated with an increase in recorded crimes such as the use of weapons and abuse of drugs that require more rigorous measures. The use of police officers has been associated with changes in the level of crimes recorded and response to crimes.
According to the national institute of education, the use of police has not always been a common practice. In 1975, only one percent of the nation’s school had a police officer assigned. By 1997, twenty percent of all schools had police officers assigned. By 2007, police officers and security guards presence had increased to sixty-nine percent from fifty-four percent in 1999. (National Institute of Education, 1978)
Research suggests that the presence of an officer enhance school safety. They deter many aggressive behaviors including student fights, bullying, and threats and make it easier for school administration to maintain order, address disorderly behavior timely and limit time spent in matters of discipline. According to Chongmin and Gottfredson, Police officers have been involved in several activities such as serving on advisory boards, school safety committees and planning bodies. The police have been important partners for implementing and developing school security strategies. Some police departments changed officer training dramatically in response to school shooting with the hope that the number of victims during such events would decrease. (Chongmin and Gottfredson, 2013)
Kiernan and Travis, Police have also been involved in schools in a less formal way. They offer assistance with school events and have been a guest speaker at school assemblies and classrooms. Schools have had a contract with police officers for special services such as providing security in social and sporting events. (Travis and Kiernan, 2012)
Weiler, Spencer C. and Cray, Martha (2011) Many school parents and administrators have expressed satisfaction with policing programs eve where initially, parents and administrators had resisted the idea of placing police officers in schools. Students, parents and teachers have had a perception change concerning the police (Weiler and Martha, 2011).
According to the Robert Agnews general strain theory, people engage in crime due to strain, stress or upset. They engage in to escape from the stress or strain. For example, one may steal to reduce financial problems or may engage into stop harassment. He explains that people are faced with two types of strain that lead to crime. The first type is strain is that which prevents one from achieving their goal. The second one is the other that takes things that one values or presents one with negative stimuli. People desire to be respected or positively regarded by others. People have a desire for respect and status. Theorists argue that the desire for masculine status is relevant to the crime. Majority of males especially the young ones, members of minority groups have difficulties in satisfying their desires to be treated and viewed as men. These people try to accomplish masculinity through use of crime. They attempt to coerce others by using crime into giving them respect.
This theory explains that adolescents desire autonomy from adults and sometimes it is a major goal by most of them. They desire power over oneself, engage in actions without permission and resist demand of others. Adolescents are encouraged to be autonomous on one hand and denied autonomy on the other hand. The lack of autonomy may result to delinquency as a means of asserting autonomy.
Strain not only results in a failure to achieve some goal but also taking something of value from a person presents the victim with negative stimuli. A range of negative events such as child abuse and neglect, physical punishment, negative relations with parents and teachers, bad experiences in school, divorce, changing of schools, parental unemployment and other stressful events have been linked to crime. Certain traits in individuals increase disposition to delinquency. Delinquency is more likely when the reward is high and the probability of being caught and punished is low
In conclusion, having police officers in schools have increased and the perception of safety. It has also improved police call response time and reduced truancy. It has also impacted on learning time as a result of less distraction from class preparation and teaching.
Julie Kiernan and Travis, Lawrence (2012) The role of police in public schools principal and police reports of activities in schools. Taylor and Francis 10.1080/15614263.2011.589570
Weiler, Spencer C. and Cray, Martha (2011) Police at School: Current Status of School Resource Officers. Clearing House July 2011, Vol. 84 Issue 4, p160-163. 4p.
Chongmin Na & Denise C. Gottfredson (2013) Police Officers in Schools: Effects on Crime and the Processing of Behaviors, Justice Quarterly, 30:4, 619-650, DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2011.615754
National Institute of Education (1978).Violent schools Safe schools: The school study report to congress Washington, DC US Government Printing Office.
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