The Breakdown With Shaun King: We Don’t Need Police in Schools

Shaun King and Kendi K
Jun 30, 2020 - 5:01

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People of color are trained to distrust law enforcement from an early age. 

Not only are Black neighborhoods policed more heavily, but numerous studies reveal that Black people are more likely to be treated by police with force and face an increased number of fatal police encounters. None of this is news to the people of color who have lived in these violently policed neighborhoods for decades, but as the spotlight remains on the Black Lives Matter movement, more studies on racially motivated police brutality are emerging

Children of color are trained how to interact with police. It is the reason parents have “the talk” with their children. For those who have had the luxury of not having “the talk,” it goes something like this:

“If you see a police officer:

Always be polite, (but never too polite, it could be seen as sarcasm).

Never run away, (but never approach them, it could be seen as a threat).

Always keep your hands in sight, (but if your hands are already in your pockets, keep them there, or else they’ll say you pulled out a gun, or a knife, or a wallet they thought was a gun or knife).”

These are the survival tactics Black and Brown kids are taught from the moment they are old enough to be made into “hugs” and “gangsters” by police officers. But they don’t work. There is no amount of politeness that will protect children of color from the racist police forces that exist in this country. 

Their brutality does not just reign in Black neighborhoods, but in schools across the country. They handcuff Black children for doing things every child does, like 6-year-old Kaia Rolle, who was handcuffed, put in the back of a police car, and taken to have her fingerprints and mugshot taken all for throwing a tantrum in class. Or in the case of 16-year-old Shakara, who was choked and body-slammed by a school police officer for having her cellphone out in math class. 

The stories of police brutality in schools are neverending. While funding continues to be poured into law enforcement departments, funding for education continues to be cut. Schools that have cops do not have guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, adequate books or school supplies, or teachers that are paid nearly enough. Black and Brown children are being criminalized in their own classrooms and expected to continue learning under fear of police violence. As calls to defund the police persist, many cities have taken to doing so by cutting ties between schools and police departments, choosing to invest that money back into the schools themselves.

In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down the brutality children of color face in their schools and the steps that must be taken to ensure this brutality ends.

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