This article appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of The Classroom Teacher.

The national unrest over police violence following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others has spread to schools, with several large districts, including Minneapolis and Seattle, severing their relationships with local police departments. 

In Texas in mid-June, a coalition of juvenile justice groups called on districts in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin to eliminate their police departments and instead use the funds for more mental health and counseling services. 

While the state’s largest districts have no plans to disband their police departments, officials have pledged to review discipline policies.
TCTA surveyed members in June about policing in schools, and 82 percent of respondents said their districts had a regular police presence in some or all of their campuses.

Nearly 90% of respondents said having a police presence in their district made them feel safer, with many in rural areas saying it helped improve response times when issues arose. Nearly 85% said they would not recommend diverting funds from police to mental health and counseling services.