School Policing

Protecting Childhood: A Blueprint for Developmentally Appropriate School Policing in Virginia

(January 2016)

“Virginia schools in a single year referred students to law enforcement agencies at a rate nearly three times the national rate.” – The Center for Public Integrity, Virginia Tops Nation in Sending Students to Cops (April 2015)

School security personnel are increasingly commonplace in Virginia’s public schools. Yet, to date, little analysis of school policing in the Commonwealth exists. A new report from the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center aims to change that.

The report describes the problems with school policing in Virginia and then provides recommendations for reforms. The appendices include tools for lawmakers and policymakers, such as a model memorandum of understanding (MOU) that school divisions and law enforcement agencies can use to incorporate best practices. The goals of the report are two-fold: 1) to stress the acute need for reform and create a more nuanced understanding of specific problems related to school policing; and 2) to advance proven reforms.


For more information, contact Jason Langberg at (804) 521-7304 or

Op-Eds from JustChildren

Let’s Stop Making Criminals Out of Schoolkids
Richmond Times-Dispatch
December 24, 2015

Success for the “Classrooms Not Courtrooms” Initiative
Richmond Times-Dispatch
November 23, 2015

To Reduce Criminalization of Childhood, We Should Start by Training SROs
Richmond Times-Dispatch
April 27, 2015

Center for Public Integrity (CPI) Report & Follow Up

“Virginia Tops Nation in Sending Students to Cops, Court” Report (April 2015)

Follow up articles from CPI:


Other Media Coverage of School Policing in Virginia

Coverage of school policing bills during the 2016 legislative session

What Are the Next Steps for Keeping Kids Out of Jail (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/5/16)

Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Announces Classrooms Not Courtrooms Initiative (Daily Press, 11/1/15)

Richmond Times-Dispatch (10/30/15)

Police Should Protect and Serve Students, Not Discipline Them (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/29/15)

High School Arrests in Henrico Vary with Race (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/19/14)

Felonizing Children (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/5/15)

City Manager Fires Back at Accusations that Cville Isn’t Working to End Racial Profiling (WVIR-TV NBC29, 7/6/15)

Henrico Plans Sweeping Changes to In-School Policing (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/30/15)

Virginia’s Pipeline to Jail (Virginian-Pilot, 5/11/15)

Virginia Leads Nation in Referring Students to Criminal Justice System (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/10/15)

Other Resources

Superintendent’s Memo (Virginia Department of Education, Nov. 13, 2015)

A Real Fix: The Gun-Free Way to School Safety (Advancement Project, Mar. 2013)

Police in School Are Not the Answer to the Newton Shooting (Advancement Project, Jan. 2013)

Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools (Justice Policy Institute, Nov. 2011)

First, Do No Harm: How Educators and Police Can Work Together More Effectively to Preserve School Safety and Protect Vulnerable Students (Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Mar. 2010)

Test, Punish, and Push Out: How “Zero Tolerance” and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth into the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Advancement Project, Mar. 2010)

Controlling Partners: When Law Enforcement Meets Discipline in Public Schools (New York Law School Law Review, 2009/10)

Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track (Advancement Project, Mar. 2005)

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