I just finished reading the April 8 article about Greater Albany Public Schools’ decision not to have uniformed police officers greet students. I support this decision, even while understanding that others may find it problematic.
What child might respond to the presence of even a very friendly police officer with fear? Here are a few examples:
A child in foster care experiencing trauma from being removed from his/her home where police presence played a role. A child who has someone in their family with issues of immigration status. Another is a child or youth with family members in the criminal justice system.
People in uniforms have been part of a very painful part of their lives. These children and youth — and there are many GAPS students with these experiences — often live in fear of people in uniforms.
Children don’t have the experience to access situations in their totality. They respond from their experience and emotions. I think we can all agree that anything in our control that may create fear and dread for a child should be avoided. The goal is to create a learning environment where all children and youth feel safe and ready to learn. For these reasons, I applaud the decision by Superintendent Goff and Greater Albany Public Schools.