One-page overview of 2021 state legislation: School safety, re-imagined: Replace police officers with student supports
Policy brief: Replace police with student supports
Reimagining School Safety in Maryland: Washington Post op-ed from bill sponsors Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins and Delegate Gabriel Acevero
Video of Counselors Not Cops Act hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, February 3, 2021
On January 27, PJC attorney Monisha Cherayil led a discussion on Re-Imagining School Safety, Maryland’s movement for Police-Free Schools.
Every year, the state of Maryland spends about $10 million to station police in public schools across the state, in addition to millions more spent at the county level. However, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that putting police in schools deters school shootings or otherwise makes schools safer in any way. In fact, data indicates that the main effect of regular police presence in schools is to criminalize children for minor behaviors: about 70% of school-based arrests involve fights without weapons or lesser offenses, like disruption. The impact of school policing also disproportionately targets students of color and students with disabilities. Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receive 23% of arrests even though they make up only 12% of the student population. Black students receive 56% of school-based arrests statewide despite representing only about a third of the student population, and there are no differences in behavior across race.
In collaboration with grassroots student- and community-led organizations across the state, the PJC is advocating for the Re-Imagining School Safety package of legislation currently before the Maryland General Assembly. These two bills would get police out of schools and reinvest in student mental health service, wraparound supports, and restorative approaches, interventions that are shown to actually make schools safer.