When we say “get cops out of schools,” we typically mean school resource officers, or SROs. They are typically controlled by the police departments they come from - NOT the schools they work in.
That makes the increasing issue of SROs sexually assaulting the students they’re meant to “protect” even harder to tackle.
Out of a small sample size of reported cases, 440 children have been sexually assaulted by SROs in their schools in the last 20 years. And just as 80% of sexual assaults aren’t reported in the general population, SRO assaults are likely underreported as well.
But there’s a power dynamic that may make underreporting even worse.
Since 1975, the percentage of American schools with SROs has skyrocketed from 1% to 48%. SROs are disproportionately assigned to majority-Black schools - and of course, they disproportionately target Black children, especially girls.
Keeping SROs in schools and hiring more of them will expose more and more Black children to sexual violence. And from assaulting students to propelling them down the school-to-prison pipeline, SROs don’t keep our children safe.