Against the backdrop of police violence toward Black and Brown communities, cities around the nation are at last recognizing the danger and harm that police officers in schools represent to Black and Brown students. Now, Rochester has an opportunity to end the presence of police in our own public schools. Email Rochester City Council now and urge them to support the removal of police from public schools, and invest in student supports like restorative justice coaches.
There are currently 12 School Resource Officers (SROs) across Rochester’s schools. It is well documented that the presence of police in schools does not equate to safety especially for Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA, immigrant and disabled youth. Too many Black and Brown children are exposed to the violence at the hands of police officers in their youth, and too many of those instances take place in their schools where they are supposed to be safe. The school-to-prison pipeline starts as early as pre-K and kindergarten where Black children are harshly disciplined for behaviors that are considered age-appropriate for white children.
It is essential that the Rochester City Council supports students by investing in proven-to-work strategies like restorative justice programs, social workers, guidance counselors and an engaging curriculum. We cannot continue traumatizing our children and perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline by allowing police officers in their hallways and classrooms.