Since school resource officers (SROs) are common in schools, yet consequences of their presence are poorly understood, the current study leveraged mixed-methods data from student surveys and group interviews across 25 schools to examine how the frequency of interactions and trust/comfort between students and SROs related to disciplinary outcomes and feelings of safety.
The study did not find any evidence that, in this context, more frequent interactions or differing trust/comfort with SROs increased disciplinary consequences, perhaps because, as students report, SROs tended to not engage in formal discipline. The study found that, although SROs were viewed as increasing safety at school, interactions with SROs may have heightened students’ sense of danger, potentially mitigating any benefit to students’ overall feelings of safety. Implications for use of SROs are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)