It’s back to school time, and you know what that means: time to teach your kids their rights when dealing with police officers. Why? Because the school resource officers (SROs) showing up in more and more schools are really no more than just that — police in schools. Colorado law provides school administrators no oversight or authority over SROs, and those same SROs can question a child without a parent present.
If that seems ridiculous, read Colorado Revised Statute 22-32-146 for yourself (bit.ly/CRS_SRO), which will inform you, for example, that if an SRO arrests a child on school grounds, the SRO’s only obligation to the principal is to provide notification of the arrest within 24 hours. That’s your child missing for a full day.
While SROs are often, understandably, wanted for the safeguarding of our children, such faith is questionable. The recent failure of the SRO at the Parkland school shooting in Florida to even enter the building where an active shooter was killing children and staff is a poignant example showing that an armed officer on school property cannot guarantee our children’s safety.
State Representative Leslie Herod, making the case — successfully — that a $35,000,000 addition to the budget for school safety in 2018-19 should not fund additional SROs, shared that “the [Colorado] statewide out-of-school suspension rate grew by 19 percent during the 2014-15 school year, [and] there were 3.5 times more suspensions of black students than white students.” She warned that, “A greater police presence will only increase [the] arrests [of youth, especially youth of color,] . . . robbing children of their futures and funneling a generation out of the classroom and into jail cells.”
Back to school time is the perfect time to demand that your child’s school offer “know your rights” training. Skilled attorneys at Learn Your Rights In Colorado are prepared to do so for free. Email them at HELLO@LYRICOLORADO.ORG.