Friday, January 29, 2016

Ferguson Consent Decree to Better Train Police in Schools and Eliminate Their Role in Routine Discipline

Ferguson has agreed to consent decree with the Department of Justice.  The bulk of that decree addresses concerns outside of school, but also includes reforms in the school.  As some may recall, DOJ's investigation into the city police department revealed some troubling trends in the school as well.  The decree indicates that the Ferguson Police Department's "SRO [school resource officer] program will build positive relationships between officers and youth, avoid unnecessary negative police actions such as arrests, and develop alternatives that promote keeping students in school and out of the criminal justice system."  In particular, the city agreed to:

  • Revise the SRO program overall, including the training and qualifications for SROs. The point here is to be an emphasis on skills that relate to interpersonal relationships with youth and diversity.
  • Limit SRO involvement to situations in which their involvement is " is necessary to protect physical safety."  They are not to "participate in any situation that can safely and appropriately be handled by a school's internal disciplinary procedures."
  • Discourage arrests of students except in those instances necessary for safety.
  • Supervise SRO's in the schools.
  • Quantitatively and Qualitatively assess the SRO program.

Thanks to Josh Gupta-Kagan for the alerting me to the decree.

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