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27-07-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2019

Litigation and School Resource Officers

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2019
Paula E. Chan, Jennifer Counts, Antonis Katsiyannis, Joseph Ryan
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The purpose of this paper was to review school discipline litigation involving school resource officers. Specifically, the authors sought to determine whether the courts have found school resource officers to be acting within the parameters of their job.


Authors searched Nexus Uni and Google Scholar to identify cases that matched the inclusion criteria. The search produced 44 cases, and cases were coded and examined to identify patterns in litigation involving school resource officers.


Results of this case law review found the most common violations involved the fourth (n = 29), fifth (n = 14), and fourteenth amendments (n = 8). Courts ruled for parents in 17% of cases, suggesting that in 83% of cases, the school resource officer, the school personnel, or the collaboration between the two parties were found acceptable by the courts.


The courts have largely ruled in favor of school personnel and school resource officers, suggesting that their performance meets the job expectations. However, other concerns may be relevant. Students were arrested in 61% of cases (n = 27), suggesting the presence of school resource officers may accelerate the school to prison pipeline. To prevent further escalating these issues, schools should have a clearly articulated memorandum of agreement, and use proactive strategies school such as school wide positive behavior interventions and support to prevent challenging behavior in schools.

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