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Advancement Project Urgently Releases “A Cop Is Cop” Report, Exposing The Alarming Rise of School District Police Departments

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WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Advancement Project released a report uncovering the growing trend of school districts creating their own police departments. “A Cop Is A Cop” details how school district police departments fail to keep students safe – even during mass shootings, such as the tragic May 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX.  The Uvalde district not only had its own school police force but also had nearly 400 cops from over 20 agencies respond.  Instead of creating safety, school district police intimidate, harass, arrest, and assault Black and Latine students. Unfortunately, the new report documents how school district police departments have doubled over the past two decades.

“What happened in Uvalde should have been a tipping point to prove further that police, including school police departments, do not keep students safe. Advancement Project’s A Cop is A Cop report is a comprehensive guide outlining why the increasing trend of school police departments only creates violence, not safety – these are not ‘special police,’ a cop is a cop,” asserts Katherine Dunn, Director of the Opportunity to Learn program at Advancement Project. “It’s crucial to reverse the rise of school district police departments and instead create the real safety young people have been demanding.”

The report outlines:

  • A brief history of school district police departments, detailing how political, budgetary, and narrative forces contributed to the rise of school policing
  • An exploration of the different types of school police structures and the first-ever compilation of over 400 school district police departments across the country
  • Data trends in school district police departments that show how these officers target Black and Latine students
  • Two case studies of successful youth-led organizing campaigns to remove or defund school district police departments

“School districts and policymakers must listen to the demands of young people: end the establishment of school district police departments and dismantle existing school district police departments,” the report reads, “While the Uvalde tragedy highlighted that the true function of policing is not safety, we still saw many of the same harmful responses that have followed other school shootings – increased funding and expanded school security and policing. The tragic example of the Uvalde school district police department’s failure to protect, combined with the harmful impact of these departments on Black and Latine students across the country, as outlined in this brief, should be used to stop and reverse the spread of these departments.”

You can read the report here: A Cop Is A Cop Report

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Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit to learn more.

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