ACLU Submits Letter to Vice President Biden on Post-Newtown Response
Solutions to gun violence needed that ensure that Americans’ civil rights and liberties are protected
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WASHINGTON – Any proposals that would put more police in schools must be rejected, the American Civil Liberties Union urged Vice President Biden.
The ACLU submitted a letter to the Vice President in response to his call for outside groups to provide input on potential federal action to address gun violence following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last month.
“As a mother, I’m especially attuned to the need to protect children from gun violence, but over-policing is not the solution” said Laura Murphy, Director of ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “When police are put in schools, learning environments can be transformed into sites of law enforcement. The results can be devastating, particularly for students of color and those with disabilities, who we know are disproportionately pushed out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.”
In its letter, the ACLU reiterated recommendations from a statement submitted to a Senate committee late last year in which it called on Congress and the Obama Administration to support positive alternatives to punitive and exclusionary school discipline practices that plague many classrooms around the country.
“While well-meaning policymakers might assume that adding more police, metal detectors and surveillance necessarily makes students safer, experience demonstrates otherwise,” said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel. “In practice, most school police spend a significant portion of their time responding to minor, nonviolent infractions rather than behaviors that seriously threaten school safety. Criminalizing minor misbehavior that should be handled by teachers or school administrators has serious consequences for kids and only contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline.”