Do police officers belong in schools?

Chatting with coworkers
In this 2011 photo, officer Mohamed Abdullahi, right, chats with Minneapolis police school resource officer Victor Mills, left, and youth resource coordinator Rick Maas before patrolling in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Public Schools severed ties with the Minneapolis Police Department in June after the killing of George Floyd.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Amid calls for police reform, we’ve seen new scrutiny on the use of police officers inside schools. Some school districts in Minnesota are removing school resource officers from their buildings.

MPR News host Angela Davis explores why some schools are moving in this direction and what could replace the school resource officer model.

How do in-school officers typically spend their time during the school day? What are their interactions with students like? How did they end up there in the first place? And what does a successful school resource officer program look like?


  • Sandy Lewandowski is the superintendent of Intermediate District 287, which abandoned the school resource officer model a few years ago.

  • Jillian Peterson is an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University. She studies school safety and is co-founder and president of The Violence Project.

  • Mo Canady is executive director of the National Association for School Resource Officers.

  • Missy Dodds is a former math teacher who survived the Red Lake Senior High School shooting in 2005. She is now a school safety advocate.

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