NASRO advises against enforcing school rules with police

Sep. 27, 2019 — HOOVER, Ala. — When school children act out, educators can be tempted to seek the assistance of on-campus school resource officers (SROs – law enforcement officers assigned to work in schools). The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), however, has for many years recommended that SROs refrain from involvement in enforcing school rules and behavioral expectations. NASRO considers it a best practice to have educators handle classroom management and similar school disciplinary situations as they would in the absence of a law enforcement officer.

At multiple locations through the U.S. and internationally, NASRO conducts a nationally recognized, 40-hour Basic SRO Course, in which it teaches law enforcement officers the many ways school policing must differ from street policing. This includes the importance of refraining from enforcing school rules and from arresting children for some behaviors that might result in an adult’s arrest on the street (e.g. disorderly conduct). NASRO fully understands the negative effects on children that can result from involving them in the juvenile justice system. NASRO designed its curriculum accordingly.

NASRO has also long recommended that communities choose police officers carefully for SRO positions. Being an SRO is a job for which not every police officer is well suited, just as some officers are not well suited for other law enforcement specialties, such as hostage negotiation. Carefully choosing SROs should include denying such positions to any officer who has in the past had difficulty with cases involving juveniles or been disciplined for behavior related to juveniles.

Unfortunately, however, some communities have not chosen to avail themselves of NASRO’s education opportunities or to adopt NASRO’s best practices. Such communities sometimes experience unintended consequences from their school policing programs.

NASRO stands ready to help any community strengthen its SRO program through excellent officer training and adoption of best practices.

Journalists may attribute any or all of the above to Mo Canady, Executive Director, National Association of School Resource Officers.