By Leah Kessler and Walker G. Harman, Jr.
On February 2, 2019, Chicago police officers assigned to Marshall High School repeatedly used a stun gun on 16-year old Dnigma Howard. When Howard tried to defend herself by grabbing the gun, a police officer hit her with his closed fist. As a result of this abuse, Howard suffered physical and emotional damages.
This serious and sad case raises the question as to why the police were stationed at the school in the first place—an issue Chicago Public Schools (CPS), like many other city school systems, has been grappling with for some time. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are approximately 50,000 officers and an 39,000 security guards working in the nation’s 84,000 public schools. “But having officers present in classrooms and cafeterias has created its own set of concerns — about the criminalization of typical teenage misbehavior, about the discriminatory enforcement of vague laws, and about the excessive use of physical force against children in school spaces where they should be able to feel safe,” said Emma Brown from the Washington Post.