The perceptions of school resource officers regarding their effects on African American students and the school-to-prison pipeline

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher Kelly (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: In the wake of the many tragic and heart-wrenching school shootings we have endured in our nation, the need for adding more school resource officers (SROs) to increase the safety measures in public schools was an added emphasis by President Barack Obama, particularly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Placing more SROs in schools was the centerpiece in President Obama’s plan to improve school safety to protect children and reduce gun violence. More currently, in 2018, there were also a number of school shootings throughout the United States. This has led to an outpouring of political activism in the realm of gun control. The political activism has been notably sparked by the student survivors of the Parkland, Florida episode of violence that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. After reviewing the history of school shootings and episodes of violence in the United States, I was compelled to wonder about SROs’ opinions about school shootings and other matters. Few studies in the existing literature include the authentic voices of SROs. The purpose of this study is to give voice to former SROs in order to gain their insights into their perceptions of their training, work, and impact. Furthermore, this study investigated how these former SROs perceived their place in the phenomenon known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” During this study, five former SRO participants shared their perspectives on a number of topics and in the process hopefully filled a void in the existing literature. As a result of my research, I found that SROs described how it was different being a cop on the street versus being an officer in the school. I also discovered that the SROs had mixed feelings about the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon. As a result of my study, I was able to make the following recommendations for local School Boards of Education and law enforcement agencies: Recommendation 1: There should be minimum requirements that law enforcement officers meet to become eligible to become an SRO. Recommendation 2: Stakeholders of the school should be involved in the hiring process of SROs for their school in particular. Recommendation 3: Local School Boards of Education, the superintendent, central office personnel, school administration, SROs, and other law enforcement personnel need to routinely review, monitor, and track the data about the school-to-prison pipeline for their schools.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Black Lives Matter, Effects on African American Black minority students, Perceptions school shootings, School resource officer, School to prison pipeline, SRO
School police $z United States $x Attitudes
Schools $z United States $x Safety measures
Prison-industrial complex $z United States
Racism in education $z United States

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