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What happened at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy is part of a pattern of consequences of putting police in our schools.
Instead of encouraging political discourse and honoring students’ constitutional rights, the School Resource Officer, employed by the Lakeland Police Department, chose to arrest a bright and politically-engaged child and charge him with “disrupting a school function.” The presence of police in schools undermines the culture of caring and learning that students need.
Sadly, incidents like these, as well as excessive use of force by cops against students, are becoming more common as states require more cops in schools, harden schools, and arm teachers while ignoring the demands of students and parents of color calling for supports for students and #PoliceFreeSchools. Police misconduct in schools most severely impacts Black and Brown students and children with disabilities – who are more likely to be unnecessarily arrested than white students.
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Join the movement for #PoliceFreeSchools today. Start by sharing the petition, then check out the links below to learn more about why there's no room for police officers in our schools.