Counselors not Cops

DSC’s Counselors Not Cops Campaign: Ending the Regular Presence of Law Enforcement in Schools

  • This set of policy recommendations calls on schools, districts, states and federal policy-makers to remove any law enforcement assigned to be present on a regular basis in school.
  • Read our Full Policy Recommendations here as well as our Resource Guide, including FAQs, data and supplemental materials.

Our new model school policies to avoid criminalization of students

Visit & Share our Interactive Site (2016) on the Counselor Not Cops platform

These recommendations build on our Model Code and are based on best practices, research and experiences of students, parents, intervention workers, peace-builders and educators from around the country, and on a human rights framework for schools. They are designed so that communities and policy-makers can identify specific areas of concern and implement the recommended language, including changing laws and policies, while taking into account the diverse needs and characteristics of individual communities.

The policy recommendations for schools, districts, states and federal policy-makers are divided into three sections:

1. End the Regular Presence of Law Enforcement in Schools

We are calling for removal of any law enforcement personnel assigned to be present on a regular basis in schools, including sworn officers (and unsworn if they are armed security), municipal police officers, school police officers, school resource officers (SROs), sheriff’s deputies, parole and probation officers, tribal officers, truancy officers, ICE officers or other immigration officials and armed security guards.

2. Create Safe Schools through Positive Safety and Discipline Measures

Instead, school staff trained to ensure safe and positive school climates, such as community intervention workers, peacebuilders, behavior interventionists, transformative or restorative justice coordinators, school aides, counselors and other support staff, can and do prevent and address safety concerns and conflicts. These staff monitor school entrances and ensure a welcoming environment, respond to the root causes of conflict and disruptive behaviors, prevent and intervene to stop intergroup and interethnic tension, and address students’ needs.

3. Restrict the Role of Law Enforcement that are Called in to Schools

On those rare occasions when it is appropriate for law enforcement to enter a school building, there should be agreements with police departments that limit the cases when law enforcement can be called in to a school, with particular safeguards in place to ensure students’ rights to education and dignity are protected, in addition to their constitutional rights to counsel and due process.

Resource Guide

This Resource Guide provides supplemental information to assist communities, educators and policy-makers in using our recommendations. This Resource Guide was developed based on research, best practices and on the ground experiences of our members across the country.

This guide includes:

I. Frequently Asked Questions about Counselors Not Cops (page 2)

II. Data on Police in Schools (Page 3)

III. Resources for Implementing Positive Alternatives to School Police (page 7)

IV. Examples of Staff Trained to Address School Safety and Positive Approaches to School Climate (page 8)

V. Additional Resources for Limiting the Role of Police (page 11)


Watch our 3 Part Webinar Series ‘Focusing Freedom’ on School Policing


More on Counselors Not Cops

Police in Schools Are Not The Answer (2018 re-release)

ACLU of PA Blog Post – School Policing: What the Research Shows

ACLU PA Blog Post – Arming Teachers and Putting More Armed Cops on Campus Jeopardizes Safety

Case Study: Case Study: Alternatives’ Restorative Justice work at Paul Robeson High School 2014-2017

What Parents Need to Ask about SROs, End Zero Tolerance

Counselors, Not Cops, Teaching Tolerance

Over 100 Education Groups Want to Kick Cops Out of Schools, Huffington Post

Get Police Out of Schools, Coalition of Student, Parent Groups Say, Education Week

Coalition calls for end of police presence in schools, Center for Public Integrity

National Campaign Calls for Schools to Remove All Law Enforcement Officers, Youth Today