Some Maine lawmakers are calling for more policing, surveillance, and incarceration of our children. We've written to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs urging lawmakers to reject these proposals.
Read our letters to the committee in the PDFs at the bottom of this page.
The School-to-Prison Pipeline:
A wide body of research shows school resource officers increase negative and sometimes dangerous interactions between children and law enforcement. These interactions occur disproportionately between law enforcement and students of color, students with disabilities, and students from families with low incomes. As a result, children are burdened with the full weight of the criminal legal system simply for misbehaving, and some are even physically, mentally, and emotionally harmed in the process.
These interactions can range from getting handcuffed to youth incarceration. According to a national ACLU report, "nationally, Black students are more than twice as likely as their white classmates to be referred to law enforcement. Black students are three times as likely to be arrested as their white classmates, and in some states, Black girls are over eight times as likely to be arrested as white girls. During the 2015-16 school year, 1.6 million students attended a school with a sworn law enforcement officer and no counselor."
Every child deserves access to safe and clean housing, quality public education, accessible and practical transportation, convenient and affordable groceries, first-rate healthcare, quality childcare, and – most importantly equitable access to joy. We all know these are the true and undeniable hallmarks of a safe and thriving community, not the addition of armed law enforcement officers in our schools.