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Resource officers can and do help many kids

Mistrust of law enforcement has become widespread to the point of becoming dangerous. One need not be a defender of the tiny minority of “bad cops” to recognize that. Of course they need to be purged from police and sheriff’s departments. George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of a few Minneapolis police officers has united Americans in demanding that.

But some critics insist that any law enforcement presence in schools needs to be eliminated. Critics say the presence of officers and deputies intimidates minority students and contributes to a “school-to-prison pipeline” that targets minorities.

Fortunately, a counter campaign against removal of law enforcement personnel from schools is being mounted. Among its champions are leaders in Black and Indigenous education communities. They recognize that for many students, both minority and white, the presence of what some communities call “school resource officers” is a good thing.

Often, resource officers build new bridges between law enforcement and minority communities. They can serve as lifelines for troubled youths of any race. It is not rare for students in trouble ­– too often, sadly, because of parental abuse or neglect — to turn to resource officers for help.

Should use of law enforcement personnel in schools be discussed? Absolutely. But should a sweeping philosophy that they need to be pulled out be adopted? No.

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