Suspensions, expulsions, and arrests: Examining the presence of law enforcement officers and mental health professionals
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This study was an endeavor to add to the research base on the impacts of law enforcement in our public schools, as well as to examine the presence of school counselors on the school-to-prison pipeline. The findings of this study suggest that there were no associations between the presence of a law enforcement officer and increased rates of referrals and arrests of students in schools across the United States. Additional results suggest that because in school suspension rates for high schools and expulsion rates for elementary were increased when the school had a law enforcement officer, schools needs to be cognizant of other areas of student discipline that are impacted. Most importantly, the findings also suggested that the absence of a school counselor in high school is associated with a significant increase of law enforcement involvement for students. Implications from this study suggest that the continued fight against the school-to prison pipeline has made positive impacts on students, but there is more work to be done and efforts for change have to continue. Suggestions are made for efforts to focus on needed policy changes regarding school discipline, training for both law enforcement officers and school administrators, and ensuring that mental health access and intervention becomes a top priority for schools across the United States.
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