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First, Do No Harm: How Educators and Police Can Work Together More Effectively to Preserve School Safety and Protect Vulnerable Students

Published May 3, 2010, Johanna Wald and Lisa Thurau

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Today, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School released a policy brief, entitled, “First, Do No Harm,” (authors Johanna Wald and Lisa Thurau) that examines the history and impact of school resource officer programs, focusing on a series of interviews that the authors conducted in 16 school districts in Massachusetts. The brief identifies the reasons for the large expansion in police presence in schools during the past decade, and summarizes existing research about how the deployment of police in schools has changed school environments.  In addition, it offers recommendations for policy reforms intended to maximize the benefits of police presence in schools, while reducing the risk of unnecessary criminalization of vulnerable youths.

Reform areas: Mental/behavioral health

States: Massachusetts

Categories: Community-based alternatives/diversion

Uploaded May 18, 2010


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Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.