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Publication Date


Publication Title

American Journal of Community Psychology



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Wiley Periodicals LLC


School-based law enforcement (SBLE) have become increasingly common in U.S. schools over recent decades despite the controversy surrounding their presence and lack of consensus around their associated benefits and harms. Drawing on the history and evidence base regarding SBLE, we advocate for an end to SBLE programs. Grounding our argument in principles of Community Psychology and positive youth development, we outline how the presence and actions of SBLE negatively affect individual students as well as school systems, with particularly harmful outcomes for students with minoritized and marginalized identities. Research on SBLE and school crime does not provide consistent evidence of positive impacts, and many studies find null effects for the relationship between SBLE and school crime or increases in crime and violence in schools. Though funding for SBLE is often prompted by high-profile acts of gun violence in schools, evidence suggests that SBLE neither prevents these incidents, nor lessens the severity when they do occur. Thus, we advocate for removing law enforcement from school settings and redirecting resources into inclusive, evidence-informed responses that are generally safer and more effective than SBLE. We close by outlining the policy landscape governing SBLE programs and ways communities can lobby for change.


Author Posting © The Authors, 2023. This article was published open access in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Pages 1-18, November 2023.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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