When we were kids, a teacher’s threat to send us to the principal’s office was often enough to make us change our ways. Today, there is an increasing reliance on use of police officers within the school systems. This is true at all levels, from elementary to higher level systems.
Unfortunately, Texas is one of the worst in the country when it comes to this situation. The Kinder Institute for Urban Research through Rice University reports 41% of students in the state attend schools that have police officers but no nurse, psychologist, social worker or counselor.
Is this the right approach for our children?
Child psychologists often caution against this approach, noting that children’s brains are still developing and when they act out, they often need guidance and encouragement towards proper behavior. That punishment and severe consequences will not help children to become better people — that this approach could have the opposite effect.
How should parents respond to a notification that the school chose to call the police to deal with an incident involving their child?
So what is a parent to do if the principal calls the police instead of a guidance counselor? First, it is important to take the matter seriously. The potential for criminal charges increases significantly once enforcement officers are brought into the equation. Depending on the allegations, officials may push for enhanced penalties. One example: the presence of drugs on or near school property. In Texas, these types of charges can impact a young student’s entire future. Prompt action can reduce this risk. A defensive strategy that includes helping the student if they are acting out and addressing any potential legal ramifications is important.