CRIME

Gun Control Legislation Must Not Include More Cops In Schools: ACLU Letter To Biden

01/15/2013 11:13 am ET

Cops in schools would not make them safer, just more oppressive, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

With a ban on assault weapons looking less and less likely, the Obama administration is reportedly looking toward other legislative options that could draw bipartisan support.

Democracy Now reports that the White House is considering providing $50 million in federal funding to put hundreds of police officers and new surveillance equipment in public schools.

In a press release, the ACLU urges the White House and Vice-President Joe Biden to look elsewhere for ways to curb gun violence.

"As a mother, I’m especially attuned to the need to protect children from gun violence, but over-policing is not the solution,” Laura Murphy, Director of ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in the release. “When police are put in schools, learning environments can be transformed into sites of law enforcement. The results can be devastating, particularly for students of color and those with disabilities, who we know are disproportionately pushed out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.”

In a letter to Biden, who is leading a gun control initiative, the ACLU argues that cops in schools spend the vast majority of their time policing trivial offenses.

"While well-meaning policymakers might assume that adding police, metal detectors and surveillance necessarily makes students safer, experience demonstrates otherwise," Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel, said in the release. “In practice, most school police spend a significant portion of their time responding to minor, nonviolent infractions rather than behaviors that seriously threaten school safety."

The letter cites statistics from New York City where, according to the letter, schools with permanent metal detectors reported that 77 percent of incidents involving cops during the 2004-2005 school year were classified as “non-criminal.” Only 4 percent were classified as “major crimes against persons” and just 2 percent were classified as “major property crimes.”

That's a recipe for more students needlessly locked behind bars, according to Vagins.

"Criminalizing minor misbehavior that should be handled by teachers or school administrators has serious consequences for kids and only contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline,” Vagins said.

In a press conference shown in the video below, President Obama said specifics on his gun control proposals will come within days.

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