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School Police Force

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-16/lausd-diverting-school-police-funds-support-black-students

 

In a move to satisfy the views of the day, schools are moving to defund the police force in schools.  Im sure there are many of both sides of the fence on this issue and again, it is not as Black and White as you will be forced to believe.  On one hand, it is clear from the multiple school shootings that there is a clear and present danger in schools today of the likelihood of being shot by a disgruntled student with access to guns.  The knee-jerk reaction to that was logically, to put the police into schools as a deterrent.  The unexpected side effect from that now is that we have armed police treating school kids as criminals when they are being kids, getting into trouble, fighting etc and using the techniques taught to subdue violent criminals on teenagers behaving badly, even sometimes shooting to kill unarmed kids, which has therefore created a backlash and so resulted in another knee-jerk reaction - defund the school police force.

There are many solutions to this problem that does not require excessive armed force presence and there is a kinder gentler way of policing that emphasizes cooperation rather than confrontation. 

One of the first things that can be done to reduce the threat of school shootings is to redesign how students enter the campus, and to have checkpoints that ensure that guns cannot get on campus.  Rather than a confrontational police presence, we could emphasize psychiatric presence, ramping up on our treatment of depression, anxiety, explosive anger issues and address some of the overarching themes that face students that cause them to behave in this way.  For example, it has been shown in studies that teaching students, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds yoga and meditation, helps them cope with anger.  Teaching them how to express rage and anger in more constructive ways and teaching them not to respond in anger to situations teaches self-regulation, a skill that will be required as they grow up and learn that bad behavior is not rewarded in the adult world.  

These are skills usually taught in functioning families by parents and in functioning close-knit communities by the larger community, church and in social gatherings.  In inner cities, rage, anger and fighting is a survival skills for the mean streets, and this spills over into schools.  Addressing this greater socioeconomic problem with REAL long-lasting solutions is much better than the knee-jerk "punishment" oriented model of 'get the cops in' to meet fire-with-fire.

The 'investment' of teaching these kids how to constructively manage their emotions has long-lasting consequences both in the school, as well as in the communities they will inhabit in the future.  Costs net out evenly.  Having all entrants to the school going through a checkpoint to catch any weapons will stop the weapons getting on the grounds, a small security force, will quell any physical violence.  Mandatory participation in mindfulness and meditation will yield long-term mental resilience and channelling that anger into constructive avenues will teach them how to behave, if they havent learnt this at home.

Starting them young and implementing this from 1st grade means having children already primed to behave by the time they reach the more aggressive teens.  This is education oriented at problem-solving.  We cant change our society today, but we can put the process in place to change it tomorrow.

 


Committee to Elect Akua Agyeman
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