Our Counselors Not Cops campaign aims to educate WCPSS officials on the importance of divesting from law enforcement and investing in school support staff, such as school psychologists, mental health therapists, school counselors, nurses and other support staff such as Peacebuilders.
Wake County Public School System’s (WCPSS) School Resource Officers Program fuels the school-to-prison pipeline in Wake County. There are currently over 70 school resource officers in WCPSS, with at least one in every middle and high school. During the 2018-19 school year, 28.5% of all juvenile delinquency complaints in Wake County were school-related. Black students represented only 22% of WCPSS student enrollment in 2018-19, but were 73% of school-related delinquency complaints. Most referrals by WCPSS school resource officers (SROs), during this period, were to juvenile and criminal court, potentially resulting in juvenile and criminal records for hundreds of Black and Brown students. Teen court, mediation, and other diversions programs comprised a significantly lower percentage of the referrals.
To this end, EJA calls on WCPSS superintendent and her staff and school board members to:
- End the regular presence of law enforcement in schools and end the systematic criminalization of students and parents.
- Approve EJA’s Safe School Zone Police proposal to protect undocumented students from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Implement a Peacebuilder program as an alternative to school police. Peacebuilders are community intervention workers who intentionally build positive relationships with students and parents and provide intervention support to teachers and administrators.