What a Systematic Review of 32 Evaluations Says About the Impact of School-Based Law Enforcement
One common policy in response to concerns about school safety is to regularly employ police in school buildings. Although many schools have had some regular presence of police in their buildings, the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 led to more scrutiny of law enforcement across the board. As a result, several districts across the nation began to reconsider the use of police in schools.
However, as schools began returning to full-time, in-person teaching, concerns about the safety of students and staff led several districts to reverse their decision and bring officers back to campus. Clearly, more research is needed to guide this important policy decision.
To respond to this research need, the WestEd Justice and Prevention Research Center, in collaboration with Professor Ben Fisher of Florida State University, conducted a systematic review of research on the effects of school policing on safety, perceptions, and academic outcomes. This brief summarizes results from this synthesis of 32 evaluations.
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