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When police are called into California schools

It is critical for school districts to act properly when it comes to disciplinary issues regarding special needs students. How schools handle these matters can have major impacts on such students. When a parent of a child with disabilities believes that their child’s school mishandled such a matter or subjected their child to inappropriate disciplinary actions, they may want to promptly discuss the matter and their concerns with an education lawyer.

Now, instances sometime happen in which California schools respond to disciplinary problems by calling in the police. Given how big on an impact bringing police into the situation can have on students, one might assume that California schools would have strict rules regarding when this drastic action can be taken. However, a recent study suggests that, in many school districts, this isn’t the case.

The study looked at 119 school districts in the state to see what kinds of policies they had regarding staff calling the police in on matters involving student behavior. The study found that over half of these districts lacked clearly defined guidance for staff on this issue, and instead gave broad discretion to staff when it comes to calling in police. It also found that it was pretty rare for schools to have special protections in place for students when it comes to dealings with the police at school.

This could open the door to police being called into schools in connection to all manner of different situations. Among the students this could have big implications for are students with disabilities. The study argues that disabled students are one of the types of students that can be disproportionally impacted when police are brought in over minor in-school matters.

Do you think school districts here in California should have stronger guidelines regarding calling the police in relation to disciplinary problems? What guidelines do you think would best help protect special needs students when it comes to this issue?

Source: Los Angeles Times, “When California schools call cops for small infractions it disproportionately hurts minority students, civil rights study finds,” Anna M. Phillips, Oct. 19, 2016

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