The data has been clear for some time that cops in schools do not make children safer; particularly children of color, autistic and disabled children, and LGBTQIA+ children. These children are more often injured or killed, face harsher school punishments, and are placed squarely in the school to prison pipeline. School Resource Officers are significantly more likely than other officers to be arrested for sexual misconduct.
It probably can’t get worse, right? Wrong.
Picture this: an adult man is at your child’s school and is trying to befriend them. This man finds himself to be unapproachable or a bit frightening to the kids. So the next time, he brings a big fluffy dog. Kids love to pet dogs, right? This will make the man more approachable.
This is the stuff stranger danger nightmares are made of. It’s literally 1980s-by-the-book predator shit.
It’s also the latest ploy in the make-the-white-middle-class-comfy, cops-are-your-friends, police state, School Resource Officer craze.
It’s happening just up the road in Beatrice, a place already infamous for the way its justice system operates. Their School Resource Officer now has the “opportunity” to bring a dog into the school. The Beatrice Daily Sun reports that the SRO went to the school board to “announce” that he had the chance to become the dog’s handler.
Awwww, won’t that be sweet to have a nice puppy in the school? He looks so nice.
And he probably IS a nice dog. But he’s not a pet. “Toro is a single-purpose narcotics detection dog,” Lauenstein explained.
“Lauenstein said Toro would be used almost solely to prevent individuals from bringing drugs on school grounds. He said if someone were to mistakenly bring drugs to school, Toro could be used for drug detection, as well.”
They said the quiet part out loud. The dog is there for one reason, to detect drugs in the school.
Reading further, you see that the SRO is actually using predator language to describe the subterfuge he’s engaging in with the dog:
““Our department sees this as an opportunity to continue to build that relationship, continue to keep our schools drug free. And, quite frankly, I don’t know that I’m unapproachable, but I think sometimes the uniform can be, especially in our society. If we can bridge that gap in any way, shape or form, dogs are good community. ‘I love dogs, and I’ll come pet the dog while I talk to Officer Lauenstein, when maybe I wouldn’t have before,'” Lauenstein gave as an example.”
I don’t know how you read this, but here is my takeaway: I’m using a cute dog to trick children to become my friends. And then I will bust them up on a drug charge. Anyone else who used an animal to trick children to become their friends would be a predator. But it’s OK because he has a uniform?
It’s not OK. It’s fucked.
And parents, you ought to be worried too. “Officer Toro” (the dog) will probably come up to your car and make “friends” with you too. Cops are not your friends, even if they are dogs. Remember, this animal has a single purpose. To detect drugs. He can smell it in your car or on your kids if you are a user. He can detect drugs on his “friends” without any cause for search.
But drugs are illegal, you might say – if you don’t want trouble, don’t break the law. It’s true that most of us don’t want our schools to be a hub for heroin dealers. We want our kids safe. But this is suspicion without cause. I have no idea what the current statistics are on drug use in the Beatrice schools are. But what price are we willing to pay for their “safety”?
The harm from these officers to certain populations is too great. And even for those who are not physically harmed, what is the societal cost? Should all workplaces have a drug-sniffing dog, just in case someone might “accidentally” bring drugs to work? How about at the grocery store? Should they have a dog at the entrance there? Do we want to continue to push a police surveillance state on minor children?
This price for our children is too high.
Even if we place all that aside, what other professions are paid to build relationships with kids? Many companies encourage their employees to serve as mentors through school-based programs on a volunteer basis, but as far as I’m aware, we are not using tax-payer funds to place full-time plumbers, engineers, entrepreneurs, or Twitch streamers in the school buildings to “create relationships.” Can you imagine if we put Twitch streamers in the schools and gave them dogs? And TBH, Twitch streaming is a more relevant profession of the future than a cop is.
Beatrice, it’s time for you to activate. This normalization of the police state for our children, hidden behind the sweetness of a dog, is gross at the least. At worst, your community is going to have another lawsuit your taxpayers can’t possibly afford.