According to a new investigation conducted by the 74, a nonprofit news outlet dedicated to spreading awareness about the public education given to America's 74 million children, there are more security officers than counselors in three of the five largest school districts in the United States: New York City, Chicago and Miami-Dade.
The findings don't come as a shock to those who understand the "school-to-prison pipeline," a series of policies and practices that push students, especially those most at-risk, from classrooms to the criminal justice system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I'm not surprised, but it still concerns me really deeply," director of the ACLU's racial justice programs Dennis Parker told the 74 when asked about the disproportionate numbers. "It reflects an approach to school discipline and school safety that is ultimately counterproductive."
New York City is the largest public school system in the nation, and it has about five security officers and three counselors for every 1,000 students, the 74 reported. Chicago has about four officers and two counselors per every 1,000 students. The Miami-Dade school district, has nearly three times the security staff than counselors policing their schools.
"Our goal is to provide a safe, respectful and supportive environment for students to thrive academically and socially," Toya Holness, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, told the 74 regarding New York. "We are working across city agencies, including NYPD and FDNY, to ensure the safety and security of students and staff," referencing New York's police and fire department.