Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Not So Well-Regulated Militias in Schools, Juvenile Justice Blog

However, absent from the media coverage of North Carolina, and lost amidst the General Assembly’s recent efforts to attack women, restrict voting, dismantle public education, make the rich richer and poor poorer, and initiate other measures from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s vile playbook, is a section buried deep (pages 77-78) in the recently ratified state budget that would allow armed militias to roam schools and arrest students.

The provision allows school districts to enter into agreements with sheriff’s departments and/or police departments that would provide former law enforcement officers and/or former military police officers to roam school hallways. The legislation requires the “volunteer school safety resource officers” to be trained in the social and cognitive development of children, but does not require training in their proper roles, students with disabilities, students’ rights, supporting students in positive ways, or cultural competency. Additionally, the bill mandates that neither a law enforcement agency nor a school district can be held liable for any “good-faith action” taken by an officer. Also, the bill does not prohibit the volunteers from carrying pepper spray, TASERs, and guns; presumably, volunteers will be armed. Perhaps worst of all, the provision gives the officers the power to arrest without any restrictions on such power (e.g., no arrests for minor misbehavior or manifestations of students’ disabilities). Notably, the state budget also provides grants for more paid law enforcement officers to patrol public schools on a full-time basis (misleadingly called “school resource officers”).

History and research tell us that unleashing armed cops and soldiers in schools will disproportionately impact students of color and result in more students unnecessarily in the juvenile and criminal injustice systems, more undermining of teachers’ and administrators’ authority, and more damage to learning environments. Even if law enforcement officers in schools were benevolently conceived as a means of keeping intruders out of schools and intervening when violence occurs, they are typically used as yet another developmentally inappropriate way of punishing misbehaving students who need understanding and positive support.

Since policymakers have repeatedly ignored thepleas and research from education and juvenile justice advocates, it’s up to school districts to stay true to their missions and reject more (paid or volunteer) cops in schools. And it’s up to all of us to demand investments in proven measures of ensuring school safety, such as: small schools and classes; Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports; ample support staff (e.g., teacher assistants, counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and mentors); student support teams; restorative justice, social and emotional learning, and bullying prevention programs. Let’s stand up and protect our students and schools, before it’s too late.

Russia Reports Third Children’s Camp Stricken,

Health authorities in Russia’s eastern Primorye region are blaming contaminated food or water for sickness that has afflicted 28 children at a summer camp. But the problem comes after 116 children and two adults from the children’s camps Orlyonok and Gudok in the Perm area, near the Urals, required treatment in a hospital late last week for intestinal problems.

Last week a group of orphans fled the Vostok children’s camp near Irkutsk because of lack of food.

110 children taken ill after mid-day meal in Bihar,

At least 110 children were taken ill after eating mid-day meal in Bihar’s Arwal and Jamui districts Wednesday in the second tragedy related to free school food in the state this month, officials said. On July 16, 23 children died after eating contaminated mid-day meal in Saran district. In Arwal district 65 children were taken ill and in Jamui district 45 children fell sick in Kalyuga village.

The incident in Arwal district took place in government primary school in Chandi village and out of the 65 children who fell ill 10 fainted for a few minutes, officials said.

Children were served ‘khichri and chokha’ in the mid-day meal. “Soon after they ate the food, some children complained of vomiting and pain in stomach,” an official said. In a similar tragedy, 23 children died after eating contaminated mid-day meal in Saran district. A forensic report confirmed the presence of toxic insecticide traces in the cooking oil used for making food at the school.

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