News and Commentary

Biden Associate Attorney General Nominee Wants To Eliminate School Police Officers

Vanita Gupta openly advocates to “end the use of police in schools as a solution to student discipline.”
Vanita Gupta speaks during the announcing of President- Elect Joe Biden and Vice President - Elect Kamala Harris Justice Department nominees at the Queen in Wilmington, DE on January 7, 2021. Merrick Garland, for attorney general, Lisa Monaco for deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta for Associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke for assistant attorney general for the civil rights division.
Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. Associate Attorney General called for the elimination of police officers from all schools. 

Vanita Gupta is the CEO and President of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights and has been tapped by the Biden administration to help lead the U.S. Attorney General office. In a 416-page report obtained by The Federalist, Gupta’s organization recommended banning law enforcement from schools. 

The report is called “New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, And Effective Community Policing” and it openly advocates to “end the use of police in schools as a solution to student discipline.” 

The organization is advocating for measures that mimic the demands of politicians and activists who want to “defund the police.” The group calls for increased funding for “community policing initiatives” such as after-school programs and mental health professionals. 

“In addition to advocating for more funding for community policing initiatives, community members should advocate for investment in social and community services that improve public safety, such as after-school programs, street lighting, and homeless shelters,” the report reads. 

In another section, the organization specifically demands that elected officials redistribute police funding to “hiring school counselors, mental health counselors, community intervention workers, and restorative justice coordinators to respond to student behavioral problems.” 

Gupta’s report also claims that school districts are “increasingly turning disciplinary matters over to school police.” This allegedly leads to the increased arrest and use of excessive force on students of color, students with disabilities, and students who identify as LGBTQ. These students are allegedly subject to increased arrest for “minor misbehaviors.” 

School districts across the country are echoing the report’s claims. In Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) — one of the largest school districts in the nation — the Parent-Teacher Association made allegations that the district’s student resource officers were engaging in bias because minorities were punished at disproportionate rates compared to their population size.

Of the arrests in the last two years at MCPS, 83 percent were black and Hispanic students, though the racial groups compromise 21 percent and 32 percent of the population, respectively.  

Whether it be Gupta’s report or the MCPS district, such data often fails to address the outsized amount of crime committed by minority students. Police interactions at MCPS that led to arrests did not come from minor incidents of misbehavior, as Gupta’s report suggests. Instead, police were deployed to schools when students brought weapons to school, brought drugs on school grounds, or when a student threatened or assaulted a peer. 

The report called any “antagonistic interaction” between a police officer and a student a disruption to the school learning environment. This violates “the principles of community policing” that the organization advocates for. 

“Police officers should not have a role in student disciplinary matters,” the report reads. 

Gupta’s guide also calls on taxpayer-funded public schools to refuse to work with the Department of Homeland Security when a student is illegally living in the United States and enrolled at a local school. 

“Communities should ask school districts that retain school police whether they share information with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or with state or federal gang task forces,” the report reads. “They should ensure existing agreements between police departments and schools don’t give officers access to student records.”

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