Is there no end to the insanity?
In Nebraska, a bill has been introduced by Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers that would ban police officers from being school resource officers.
It’s mind boggling.
The bill specifies that peace officers actively employed by a law enforcement agency wouldn’t be allowed to serve as a school resource officer.
Now in case you started thinking this has something to do with budgets – it doesn’t. It has to do with race.
Chambers says that SRO programs “disproportionately impact students of color and those with disabilities”, creating the same “toxic, discriminatory impact” found in society at large.
That’s right. He’s essentially saying that SROs are racist at their core and so is all of society.
“It is counterproductive to the purpose and goals of education and its processes, to convert conduct that in the past was handled within the school context, into a basis for arrest and entanglement in the court system with the possibility of being locked up,” he said.
The bill wouldn’t apply to a peace officer responding to a safety threat at a school or providing security for an extracurricular event.
Not that it’s a surprise, but Rose Godinez, representing the ACLU of Nebraska, spoke in favor of the bill. Try and follow her logic here. We sure can’t.
She says that diverse communities tend to have more school resources officers, and that somehow leads to a disproportionate impact on students of color.
“While adding police officers in schools may be well intentioned, educators and policymakers are overlooking the harmful and disparate educational impacts that harsh discipline … can have [on students],” Godinez said. “LB589 ends the routine policing of school which criminalizes everyday behaviors.”
Harsh discipline is now apparently a bad thing. Perhaps a better approach would be letting kids run schools and inmates run prisons.
As you might imagine, the chief of police in Hastings is adamantly opposed to the bill, arguing it would have a significant and negative impact on the safety and education of students in Nebraska schools.
“Within our nation there has been a dramatic increase in recent years with tragic events in schools,” he said. “Being present within our schools helps us to prevent [these events] and take immediate action to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
The committee bill was up for discussion on February 14, but they took no immediate action on the bill.
One has to wonder… how did we get to this point? How is it that the moment there’s a school shooting, it’s blamed on guns? But when we have opportunities to put in place safety measures to protect children and teachers, it’s somehow racist?
Why aren’t we having a conversation about how parents don’t discipline their children anymore and it’s impacting schools? Why aren’t we talking about the cultural and socio-economic differences in various communities and how they play a role in creating violent offenders regardless of race?
The Senator isn’t making an argument based on stats or data. As a matter of fact, the data would suggest he is flat out wrong. Let’s look, for example, at some recent numbers about police-involved shootings.
According to 2016 FBI data, black men commit murder 572.8% more than white men. Rapes are committed at a level of 146.1% greater, robbery at 617.9% greater, aggravated assault at 203.3% greater and violent crime in total at 263.6% greater.
Now let’s look at 2018 Police Deadly Use of Force data.
In 2018 there were a total of 998 Police Deadly Use Of Force incidents. Of these incidents, 95.3% of suspects were armed:
- Gun – 555
- Knife – 185
- Replica weapon – 33
- Vehicle – 38
- Other – 105
- Unknown – 35
- Unarmed – 47
Of the 47 (4.7%) that were “unarmed”:
- White – 23
- Black – 18
- Hispanic – 6
Note: In almost half of the cases (22) where the suspect was unarmed, non-lethal force was attempted & failed prior to the use of deadly Force.
Of the 998 total Police Deadly Use of Force, here is the breakdown by Race & Age:
- White – 456
- Black – 229
- Hispanic – 165
- Other – 41
- Unknown – 107
- Under 18- 15
- 18 to 29- 286
- 30 to 44- 379
- Over 45- 253
- Unknown- 65
Wait a minute. Stop the train. In 2018, more white people were shot and killed by police than black, Hispanic and other ethnicities COMBINED?
But… how can that be? This doesn’t seem to fit the argument of Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers or the countless others (including those kneeling in front of the flag), who allege that cops are disproportionately shooting black men.
If we’re going to have a serious conversation about “police brutality” in America, let’s do it. But let’s base it on facts and data, not “feelings”. And let’s not start by putting our kids at risk by removing the protectors who are working to keep them safe.