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Testimony: School Security in District of Columbia Public and Public Charter Schools

April 21, 2021

Nearly all of the kids Children’s Law Center represents are Black and Brown, and many routinely interact with the Metropolitan Police Department officers in their schools, at home and in their communities. More often than not, these interactions are negative, especially for students of color or ones with special needs or behavioral health issues. At at time when DC children are shouldering the weight of stress and trauma from both systemic racism and the public health crisis, CLC believes now is the time to rethink the role of police in DC schools.  

Children’s Law Center Policy Attorney Danielle Robinette shared her testimony with the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole about the need to reimagine school security and CLC’s hope that school safety recommendations issued in the DC Police Reform Commission’s report will be implemented. In particular, she encouraged the Council to seize the opportunity to pursue transformative, bold alternatives to law enforcement in District schools and create a more welcoming school environment for students by removing SROs from DC public schools. Creating a safe and supportive school climate is imperative if we expect students returning to in-person learning to recover from ongoing learning loss and trauma. It’s why we urge the Council to instead invest in the expansion of the School-Based Mental Health program, alternative discipline practices, professional development and training for DC teachers and other school staff, increased restorative justice programming and school- and community-based violence interrupter programs.

Read her full testimony: