Student Responses to Policing in Schools

  • John J. Brent
  • Antonese Wilson


Though security strategies such as using SROs have become popular among school officials, growing evidence suggests they contribute to a number of negative outcomes (see Kupchik 2010 for overview). For example, schools enlisting such features experience lower levels of academic performance and engagement at the school and student level (Department of Education 2014; Elliot et al. 1998; Gottfredson 2001; Gottfredson et al. 2005; Gregory et al. 2010; Hazler 1998; Losen and Martinez 2013; Mowen and Manierre 2017). Additionally, while few studies report that more severe sanctions can reduce serious forms of violence through altering cognitive processes (Maimon et al. 2012), there is no clear evidence these measures reduce more common forms of rule infractions and misconduct (Addington 2009; Cook et al. 2010; Greene 2005; Pagliocca and Nickerson 2001; Skiba and Peterson 2000). Still further, security practices such as the use of SROs are disproportionately directed at students of color and used in schools serving larger percentages of racial/ethnic minorities (Gordon et al. 2000; Welch and Payne 2010). The result is greater social inequality whereby Black and Latino students receive higher arrest rates which leads to fewer life opportunities, lower success rates in education, diminished employment prospects, and future disenfranchisement (see Mowen and Brent 2016).


School resource officers (SRO) School discipline School security Youth 


  1. Addington, L. A. (2009). Cops and cameras: Public school security as a policy response to Columbine. American Behavioral Scientist, 52(10), 1426–1446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education, 162(1), 67–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Booren, L., & Handy, D. (2009). Students’ perceptions of the importance of school safety strategies: An introduction to the IPSS survey. Journal of School Violence, 8(3), 233–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bosworth, K., Ford, L., & Hernandaz, D. (2011). School climate factors contributing to student and faculty perceptions of safety in select Arizona schools. Journal of School Health, 81(4), 194–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1990). Reproduction in education, society and culture. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Bowditch, C. (1993). Getting rid of troublemakers: High school disciplinary procedures and the production of dropouts. Social Problems, 40(4), 493–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Bracy, N. (2010). Student perceptions of high-security school environments. Youth Society, 43(1), 365–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bridenball, B., & Jesilow, P. (2008). What matters: The formation of attitudes toward the police. Police Quarterly, 11(2), 151–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, B. (2006). Understanding and assessing school police officers: A conceptual and methodological comment. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(6), 591–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, B., & Benedict, W. (2005). Classroom cops, what do the students think? A case study of student perceptions of school police and security officers conducted in a hispanic community. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 7(4), 264–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burke, S. (2001). The advantages of a school resource officer. Law and Order, 49(9), 73–75.Google Scholar
  13. Carter, P. (2003). “Black” cultural capital, status positioning, and schooling conflicts for low-income African American youth. Social Problems, 50(1), 136–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carter, P. (2006). Straddling boundaries: Identity, culture, and school. Sociology of Education, 79(4), 304–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Casella, R. (2003). The false allure of security technologies. Social Justice, 30, 82–93.Google Scholar
  16. Casella, R. (2006). Selling us the fortress: The promotion of techno-security equipment for schools. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Clark, J., & Wenninger, E. (1964). The attitude of juveniles toward the legal institution. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 55(4), 482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cook, P., Gottfredson, D., & Na, C. (2010). School crime control and prevention. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: A review of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Davis, B., & Bansel, P. (2007). Neoliberalism and education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20(3), 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Department of Education. (2014). Dear colleague letter. U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  21. Devine, J. (1996). Maximum security: The culture of violence in inner-city schools. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Du Bois, W. E. B. (Ed.). (1904). Some notes on Negro crime, particularly in Georgia (No. 9). Atlanta: Atlanta University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Dukes, R. L., & Hughes, R. H. (2004). Victimization, citizen fear, and attitudes toward police. Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, 32(1), 51–58.Google Scholar
  24. Eitle, T., & Eitle, D. (2004). Inequality, segregation, and the overrepresentation of African Americans in school suspensions. Sociological Perspectives, 47(3), 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Elliott, D. S., Hamburg, B. A., & Williams, K. R. (1998). Violence in American schools: A new perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Farkas, G. (1996). Human capital or cultural capital? New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  27. Ferguson, A. (2001). Bad boys: Public schools in the making of black masculinity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  28. Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control: Crime and social order in contemporary society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  29. Garot, R. (2010). Who you claim: Performing gang identity in school and on the streets. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Gilmore, P. (1985). “Gimme room”: School resistance, attitude, and access to literacy. Journal of Education, 167(1), 111–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Giroux, H., & Penna, A. (1979). Social education in the classroom: The dynamics of the hidden curriculum. Theory & Research in Social Education, 7(1), 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Goggins, E. O., Newman, I., Waechter, D., & Williams, B. G. (1994). Effectiveness of police in schools: Perceptions of students, teachers, administrators, and police officers. Spectrum: Journal of School Research and Information, 12, 16−22.Google Scholar
  33. Gordon, R., Piana, L. D., & Keleher, T. (2000). Facing the consequences: An examination of racial discrimination in US public schools. Oakland: U.S. Department of Education: Educational Resources Information Center.Google Scholar
  34. Gottfredson, D. (2001). Schools and delinquency. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Gottfredson, G., Gottfredson, D., Payne, A., & Gottfredson, N. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from a national study of delinquency prevention in schools. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42, 412–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greene, M. (2005). Reducing violence and aggression in schools. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 6(3), 236–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gregory, A., Skiba, R. J., & Noguera, P. A. (2010). The achievement gap and the discipline gap two sides of the same coin? Educational Researcher, 39(1), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hagan, J., Shedd, C., & Payne, M. R. (2005). Race, ethnicity, and youth perceptions of criminal injustice. American Sociological Review, 70(3), 381–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hazler, R. J. (1998). Promoting personal investment in systemic approaches to school violence. Education, 119(2), 222.Google Scholar
  40. Hinkle, J., & Weisburd, D. (2008). The irony of broken windows policing: A micro-place study of the relationship between disorder, focused police crackdowns and fear of crime. Journal of Criminal Justice, 36(6), 503–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hirschfield, P. (2008). Preparing for prison?: The criminalization of school discipline in the USA. Theoretical Criminology, 12(1), 79–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hirschfield, P., & Celinska, K. (2011). Beyond fear: Sociological perspectives on the criminalization of school discipline. Sociology Compass, 5(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hopkins, N. (1994). School pupils’ perceptions of the police that visit schools: Not all police are ‘pigs’. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 4(3), 89–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hopkins, N., Hewstone, M., & Hantzi, A. (1992). Police-schools liaison and young people’s image of the police: An intervention evaluation. British Journal of Psychology, 83(2), 203–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hurst, Y., & Frank, J. (2000). How kids view cops the nature of juvenile attitudes toward the police. Journal of Criminal Justice, 28(3), 189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jackson, A. (2002). Police-school resource officers’ and students’ perception of the police and offending. Policing, 25(3), 631–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Johnson, I. M. (1999). School violence: The effectiveness of a school resource officer program in a southern city. Journal of Criminal Justice, 27(2), 173–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Johnson, J., Arumi, A. M., & Ott, A. (2006). How Black and Hispanic families rate their schools. Washington, DC: Public Agenda.Google Scholar
  49. Kipper, B. (1996). Law enforcements role in addressing school violence. Police Chief, 63, 26–27.Google Scholar
  50. Kupchik, A. (2009). Things are tough all over: Race, ethnicity, class and school discipline. Punishment & Society, 11(3), 291–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kupchik, A. (2010). Homeroom security: School discipline in the age of fear. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kupchik, A., & Ellis, N. (2008). School discipline and security: Fair for all students? Youth Society, 39(4), 549–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kupchik, A., & Monahan, T. (2006). The new American school: Preparation for post-industrial discipline. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(5), 617–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kupchik, A., Brent, J. J., & Mowen, T. J. (2015). The aftermath of newtown: More of the same. British Journal of Criminology, 55(6), 1115–1130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lawrence, R. (2007). School crime and juvenile justice (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Leiber, M., Nalla, M., & Farnworth, M. (1998). Explaining juveniles’ attitudes toward the police. Justice Quarterly, 15(1), 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Losen, D., & Martinez, T. (2013). Out of school & off track. Los Angeles: Center for Civil Rights Remedies, UCLA.Google Scholar
  58. Lynch, K. (1989). The hidden curriculum. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  59. Maimon, D., Antonaccio, O., & French, M. T. (2012). Sever sanctions, easy choice? Investigating the role of school sanctions in preventing adolescent violent offending. Criminology, 50(2), 495–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. McDevitt, J., & Panniello, J. (2005). National assessment of school resource officer programs: Survey of students in three large new SRO programs. Washington, D.C., National Institute of Justice: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  61. Monroe, C. R. (2005). Why are “bad boys” always Black?: Causes of disproportionality in school discipline and recommendations for change. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 79(1), 45–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Morris, E. (2005). “Tuck in that shirt!” race, class, gender, and discipline in an urban school. Sociological Perspectives, 48(1), 25–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mowen, T., & Brent, J. (2016). School discipline as a turning point: The cumulative effect of suspension on arrest. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 53(5), 628–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Mowen, T. J., & Manierre, M. J. (2017). School security measures and extracurricular participation: An exploratory multi-level analysis. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(3), 344–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Nolan, K. (2011). Police in the hallways: Discipline in an urban high school. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pagliocca, P. M., & Nicherson, A. B. (2001). Legislating school crisis response: Good policy or just good politics. Law & Policy, 23, 373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Perumean-Chaney, S., & Sutton, L. (2012). Students and perceived school safety: The impact of school security measures. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 570–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Phaneuf, S. (2009). Security in schools: Its effect on students. El Paso, TX: LFB Scholarly Publishing.Google Scholar
  69. Rios, V. (2011). Punished: Policing the lives of black and latino boys. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Robers, S., Zhang, J., Morgan, R., & Musu-Gillette, L. (2015). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2014. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics and US Department Of Education, National Center For Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  71. Simon, J. (2007). Governing through crime: How the war on crime transformed American democracy and created a culture of fear. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Skiba, R. J., & Peterson, R. L. (2000). School discipline at a crossroads: From zero tolerance to early response. Exceptional Children, 66(3), 335–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Skiba, R. J., Michael, R. S., Nardo, A. C., & Peterson, R. L. (2002). The color of discipline: Sources of racial and gender disproportionality in school punishment. The Urban Review, 34(4), 317–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sunshine, J., & Tyler, T. (2003). The role of procedural justice and legitimacy in shaping public support for policing. Law and Society Review, 37(3), 513–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Taylor, T. J., Turner, K. B., Esbensen, F. A., & Winfree, L. T. (2001). Coppin’an attitude: Attitudinal differences among juveniles toward police. Journal of Criminal Justice, 29(4), 295–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Theriot, M. T. (2009). School resource officers and the criminalization of student behavior. Journal of Criminal Justice, 37(3), 280–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Theriot, M. T. (2016). The impact of school resource officer interaction on students’ feelings about school and school police. Crime & Delinquency, 62(4), 446–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Theriot, M. T., & Orme, J. G. (2016). School resource officers and students’ feelings of safety at school. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 14(2), 130–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Welch, K., & Payne, A. (2010). Racial threat and punitive school discipline. Social Problems, 57(1), 25–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Willis, P. (1977). Learning to labour: How working class kids get working class jobs. Farnborough: Saxon House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Brent
    • 1
  • Antonese Wilson
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA

Personalised recommendations