Law Enforcement and Restorative Circles: Impacts on Educational Achievement
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Connections have been observed between police involvement in school discipline and the utilization of suspensions as punishment. While proponents of school surveillance believe that police are necessary to provide safety in schools, education advocates question students’ perception of safety and its effects on educational outcomes. This article examines the relationship between police officer presence and certain educational outcomes, including student attendance, access to higher education, standardized test scores, and suspension rates. Also included in this analysis is an exploration of the relationships between these variables and classroom restorative circles used to manage conflict and find alternative solutions to safety. Does police presence have a significant impact upon attendance, access to higher education, standardized test scores, and suspension rates for students? Does the use of restorative circles at school, an alternative to traditional student discipline, have a significant impact upon attendance, access to higher education, standardized test scores, and suspension rates for students? To address these inquiries, an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis is used on both predictors with the School Survey on Crime and Safety collected by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Results demonstrate a statistically significant relationship between police officer presence and suspensions. Restorative circle use in schools has a significant impact upon decreased school suspensions and increased standardized test scores. To conclude the paper, real-world implications on school policy development are discussed.
Keywords: police in schools, suspension rates, educational outcomes, restorative justice circles, standardized test scores
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