I would like to respond to a letter that was published June 5 ("Listen to me — metal detectors would help prevent school shootings”). The author stated: “School Resource Officers (SRO) and metal detectors in every school would keep students safe.”
I agree that change is necessary; however, metal detectors and SROs are not the answers. Metal detectors in schools create a false sense of safety and negatively impact students’ perceptions of trust. These approaches fuel the school-to-prison pipeline, which is an educational practice that is robbing youth of a bright future.
Placing SROs and metal detectors in impoverished linguistic and culturally diverse schools will further push students of color into the margins. Having both SROs and metal detectors in schools starts to reflect penitentiaries. Research finds that some students, particularly students of color are adultified — treated and expected to act as adults — and criminalized. SROs do not have the proper training to work in schools. Where is their training in child development that is necessary when working with children?
Restorative justice in education is where we must begin. Through this practice, we can heal victims and begin to reduce crime. Let’s not wait and effectively address school issues when it’s too late. Change is now.
Maria Duarte, West Jordan