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School discipline reform groups question plans for armed security

As the White House considers proposals to allocate federal money for armed guards in schools, prominent school discipline reform groups have issued a report denouncing the idea as a misguided reaction to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“Placing more police in schools has significant and harmful unintended consequences for young people that must be considered before agreeing to any proposal that would increase the presence of law enforcement in schools,” says an issue brief [PDF] released Friday by the Advancement Project, Dignity in Schools and other organizations.

The Advancement Project, founded in 1999, has offices in Washington, D.C., and California and has worked with school districts and states to adopt alternatives to suspensions and expulsions. Dignity in Schools also is devoted to working with districts and advocating fewer suspensions and less involvement of law enforcement in school discipline.

The groups called on the White House and Congress, before they act, to consider how the school discipline climate changed after more police were introduced to schools in response to the Columbine shootings in Colorado nearly 15 years ago.


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BART exonerates officer in fatal shooting

BART has exonerated a police officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding homeless man on the Civic Center platform last July, The Bay Citizen has learned.

The results of the BART police department's yearlong internal investigation came five months after the San Francisco district attorney determined the officer, James Crowell, fired his weapon in self-defense. Crowell, who was responding to a call about a "wobbly drunk," shot and killed Charles Hill, a 45-year-old transient, on July 3, 2011. BART security camera video showed Crowell opening fire 25 seconds after arriving on the platform.

Shortly after the shooting, Crowell left BART to work for the FBI. 

Since the shooting, BART has made strides toward implementing long-delayed reforms. But its Citizen Review Board, which was formed in 2010 for police oversight, and its independent police auditor have been criticized for inaction – and did not undertake their own investigation of the Hill shooting.


Yesterday morning, during a sparsely attended review board meeting, Mark Smith, the independent police auditor hired shortly before Hill was killed, announced that the agency's investigation into the “officer-involved shooting” had been closed.

Filed under: Public Safety, Daily Report


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