In the 2017-2018 school year, WestEd issued the “California Healthy Kids Survey” to eight “diverse, low-income communities” which included schools from the Sacramento City Unified School District. The results of the survey highlighted how students of different ethnic groups viewed the presence of law enforcement on campus. As violence on school campuses continues to be a concern, many officials have begun hiring more school resource officers and increasing campus security. Ashlee Jennings of West Campus explained “Cops literally make school feel like a prison, we shouldn’t feel scared when they are at school, it really hurts students of color.”. At the same time, the WestEd survey has discovered that increased law enforcement presence disproportionately impacts students of color.“
In the survey, students were asked to what degree they agreed with various statements regarding local police. When given the statement
“The police make me feel safer”, 43% of black students stated this was not at all true, while only 10% of white students said the same thing. In contrast, 36% of students said that the cops made them feel very safe. Only 20% of Asian students and 17% of Latino students said that cops made them feel safer in the community. It was said by William Ton said that “…cops on campus make no difference to me”. When asked more specifically about if the students felt safer when the cops were on campus, 63% of Asian students said that the cops made them feel either much safer or a bit safer, 61% of white students, 54% of Latinos, and only 41% of black students gave the same response.
The results of this survey are extremely detailed and more even more comprehensive results including Native American students are being analyzed. This survey further proves that police presence on campus negatively and disproportionately impacts students of color. The results of the survey reflect broader issues regarding the way law enforcement discriminates against people of color. June Robbins of West Campus said that “Hopefully this information explaining how these cops adversely impact people of color, will make Sacramento City reconsider purring over a million dollars into cops on campus.”. While the issue of police brutality is coming to the center of public attention, this proof that police presence negatively impacts youth and therefore the future is a crucial first step to the passage of meaningful reform to establish learning environments that can be safe for all students.