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Va. ranked top for school-based arrests

Va. ranks number one for schools referring students to law enforcement when trouble ensues, according to a report released by the Center for Public Integrity.

The report shows almost 16 student for every 1,000 in Va. were referred to law enforcement in the 2011 to 2012 school year. That's three times the national average of six per 1,000 students.

Those numbers include both school-based arrests and court referrals.

Data from the U.S. Department of shows black, Latino and special-needs students are referred to courts and police at higher rates than non-minority students in most states.

“The volume of referrals from schools is fueling arguments that zero tolerance policies and school policing are creating a 'school-to-prison pipeline' by criminalizing behavior better dealt with outside courts,” publicintegrity.org says.

The commonwealth is no different.

Forty-four percent of white students were referred to law enforcement and made up 54 percent of the student population in Va. schools.

Comparatively, 14 percent of black students were referred and totaled almost 10 percent of the student population in the state.

Special-needs students showed the largest disparity, making up 34.5 percent of all referrals for that year while only 14.3 percent of the population were considered disabled.

“School discipline policies and practices must not rely on police officer involvement as a quick fix, but as a last resort and in cases of true emergency,” Angela Ciolfi, legal director of the JustChildren Program at Va.'s Legal Aid Justice Center, in a statement. “Schools should promote learning rather htan funnel kids to prison … This report underscores the urgent need for a statewide memorandum of understanding that clearly spells out the roles of police and resource officers in schools.”


I know a loudoun teacher who was repeatedly attacked by a large special needs student and the school refused to take any action. The teacher was essentially sent to a padded room for “insubordination”. Fred - the numbers seem low or high depending on your perspective, but my son tells me about the hoodlums at his HS that commit crimes at school and others outside of school, and based on your comment, would be considered as having good behavior just because they haven’t been ratted out or caught directly. I think most of the county is extremely safe compared to other localities, but there are many in our system that dummy down the entire class due to the immigration policy and other rotten eggs. I could name specifics, but am teaching my very young daughter the reality of being educated in regards to being cautious of others and self defense. My son is much older and avoids the trouble makers by staying active in productive school and non-school groups/activities intended to promote a positive, productive and law abiding life style. I would love to hear stories directly from the teachers.

I love people who see terrorist and criminals under every rock, until its their kid, then its a different story, cause we all know its only the black, Hispanic and special needs kids that cause all the trouble.

“16 student for every 1,000 in Va. were referred to law enforcement” 

If only 1.6% of the kids in school are trouble makers, and 98.4% are behaving, I’d say that is a pretty good number. I’d rather have my kids going to school in Virginia than California.

Yeah hire a unarmed security guard so they can hide under a desk when the next massacre happens.  If you can’t raise your kids and as a parent you do not know between right and wrong that’s your own problem.  Don’t like police in schools, do home schooling.

We put police in schools for protection from terrorists but they have nothing to do so they are doing what they are trained to do…arrest and charge people with crimes. The only people police have to turn into criminals are children and staff.  Parents who are on marginal terms with the law simply avoid partnering with schools in their children’s education and stay away.

We should have unarmed security guards at schools who can work with school staff and parents to come up with a non-criminal solution. The police should only be involved in schools for a limited set of issues: investigating sexual assaults, physical assaults resulting in injury, and felony theft.

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