Decline in Campus Police Officers Seen in Recent Federal Data

According to new federal data on campus crime and safety, more than 1 in 10 schools with regular police presence removed officers from their roles following George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis cop. The data, released by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, reveals that nearly 44% of public K-12 schools had school resource officers at least once a week during the 2021-22 school year. However, between May 2020 and June 2022, over 50 school districts nationwide ended their school resource officer programs or reduced their budgets in response to Black Lives Matter protests. These districts collectively served more than 1.7 million students. The federal survey shows an 11% decrease in school policing from the previous year.

During the 2019-20 school year, over 49% of schools had a regular police presence. The increase in campus policing was prompted by the mass school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, in 2018. However, the trend has reversed since George Floyd’s murder. Criminal justice researcher Shawn Bushway described this development as a “fairly dramatic” reversal of the previous upward trend. He emphasized that while it may not be seismic, it is significant.

Protesters call for police-free schools during an April 20, 2022, rally in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The decline in school-based officers may be short-lived, as some districts have reversed their decision to cut school resource officer programs. Educators reported an increase in classroom disorder after COVID-era remote learning. It is worth noting that school shootings have

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