San Francisco Private Investigator

Police on School Campuses

 Schools are just now starting up for the glorious 2007-2008 year.  From pre-schools through universities most attention will get paid to instruction and budgets.  Others, reviewing school related events of the last year might focus on the sad killings of students by one of their own at Virginia Tech.  There have also been court decisions that will effect student life in high schools.  One ruling basically shot down a student's right to wear a garment with the words "BONG HITS FOR JESUS."  In another case, a school district was limited in controlling what kids could wear, after a court shot down the district for disciplining a student wearing socks with a TIGGER logo on it. While free speech issues are very important, I am choosing to focus on student "safety" concerns.

        Those concerns deal with the safety students SHOULD have from being detained, photographed, identified, interviewed or even arrested on schools, by overly zealous law enforcement officers.  Not all regular officers, or SROs [School Resource Officers, who are those uniformed police now found on many High Schools around the country.] engage in aggressive and often racist practices. San Francisco Unified School District has had a policy that says that students have a right to have a parent or adult of their choosing present during law enforcement "contacts."  Based upon my own research, this policy is not always enforced, although again many very diligent administrators are aware of the policy and follow it carefully.

        Police don't like these rules, as they view them as impeding their right to "investigate" crimes.  Schools have problems with it, because it puts them in the middle of parents, police and students, and they rightfully see their jobs as education.  I was pleased to learn of , and view it as a step in the right direction, a new policy in the City Of Fairfield [CA] setting out new "guidelines" for what police can do on campuses.  It all stemmed from an incident in March 2007, when two groups of Latino students were lined up and photographed as part of police anti-gang work. Now, clear standards are apparently in place to protect students from this type of police practice.

        There is no doubt that crimes happen at school, and police will be called in. That's ok, so long as rights are not violated, and police behavior is not biased.

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