Report: 1.7 Million Students in Schools with Police, No Counselors


Editor’s note:  This post was originally published on Admitted in March 2019. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

High student-to-counselor ratios are a persistent problem in the United States, but what about schools that have no counselor at all?

Using the most recent federal data, the ACLU compared the number of police in schools to the number of counselors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers on campus.

Their analysis found that 1.7 million students are in schools with a police presence but no counselors. Another 14 million students are in schools with police but no counselor, nurse, psychologist, or social worker.

“The consequences for these funding decisions fall on the most vulnerable students. Historically marginalized students — such as students of color — often have to attend schools with fewer resources and supports, and teachers are often not equipped to deal with the special needs of children with disabilities,” the report states.

“When there are no other support staff to address behavioral problems, some teachers request help from law enforcement.  This results in an increased criminalization of school children: We found that schools with police reported 3.5 times as many arrests as schools without police.”

NACAC also noted the discrepancy between the number of counselors and the number of school safety officers on campus in its call to address gun violence in schools.

“If student retention, mental health, and improved college access are our nation’s policy goals, this imbalance is not an educationally sound approach to educating our children and is indicative of the outsized influence of gun violence on our society,” NACAC wrote in a 2018 statement.

Read the full ACLU report.

Ashley Dobson formerly served as NACAC’s senior manager of communications, content, and social media.

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