Document Type


Publication Date



California Law Review




Calif. L. Rev.

First Page



Police officers have become permanent fixtures in public schools. The sharp increase in the number of school police officers over the last twenty years has generated a substantial body of critical legal scholarship. Critics question whether police make students safer. They argue that any safety benefits must be weighed against the significant role the police play in perpetuating a school-to-prison pipeline that funnels Black and Brown students and students with disabilities out of schools and into courts, jails, and prisons. In suggesting remedies for this problem, commentators have proposed several regulatory fixes. These include changes to the standards for evaluating students’ claims of constitutional rights violations, specialized police trainings, and voluntary agreements between law enforcement agencies and school districts that circumscribe the role of school police. Thus far, however, legal scholars have focused primarily on the “how” of school policing, eschewing the logically prior normative question of whether there should be police in schools at all.

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