Increasing the presence of armed police officers and guards in public schools in response to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut will bring unintended consequences, a coalition warned today. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) joined Advancement Project, the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the Alliance for Educational Justice in releasing an issue brief that urges President Obama and Vice President Biden to embrace other options instead as they consider proposals to address safety.

“Enhanced police presence in schools is not a panacea for preventing the violence we saw in Newtown, Connecticut. Instead, adding police and armed security to schools often means that normal student behavior becomes criminalized.The negative consequences of increased police activity is felt most sharply in schools with large numbers of African-American and poor children,” said Damon Hewitt, Director of the Education Practice Group at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and a leading expert on the civil rights implications of school discipline policies. Hewitt is co-author of the 2010 book The SchooltoPrison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform.