The presence of police in public schools has grown steadily as a part of the zero tolerance movement. Traditionally, police stepped on school grounds to respond to emergencies and to provide security at events. What's new is the growing trend of having police stationed in schools full-time. Schools have become some officers' beat. Funding for school policing programs has expanded and more school-based police are being armed with the same weapons cops carry on the streets.
When police see schools as their beat, they tend to get involved in routine student conflicts and disciplinary matters that are not particularly dangerous or violent. The result is too often an escalation of the incident resulting in students' removal from school through arrest, citation, or fine.
School communities around the country are beginning to reconsider how police are used in schools. Some have adopted policies that limit police involvement in specific types of incident, restrict the handcuffing of students, restrict interrogation of young people without the presence of a parent or guardian, restrict arrests on campus for non-school related offenses, establish a formal complaint process for parents and students to use when they feel that school police have behaved inappropriately, and establish programs that provide an alternative to arrest.