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Understanding School Safety and the Use of School Resource Officers in Understudied Settings

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
75 pages
This report presents an overview of a study that examined the roles of school resource officers (SROs) in previously under-studied settings of non-urban elementary schools.

A mixed methods approach was used in examining the motivations for placing SROs in schools, the daily activities of SROs, how these activities related to a variety of outcomes for school stakeholders, and how these actions and outcomes vary across school settings. The study used interviews, focus groups, observations, administrative data, and a large-scale survey. The study produced several practical recommendations for policy and practice related to SROs and their work. One recommendation is that school district leadership and local law enforcement leadership develop guidelines for SRO involvement in student discipline. A second recommendation is that relationship-building between students and SROs be encouraged to prevent the perception that SROs are providing surveillance of marginalized student groups. A third recommendation is that SRO training extend beyond standard law enforcement training to include training specific to the responsibilities and goals of SROs. 6 tables and 22 references

Date Published: April 1, 2020