I was prompted to write this by the Sheneman editorial cartoon (The Daily Progress, June 11 print edition) showing a policeman in full riot gear and a teacher saying she had to buy her own chalk.
As a former teacher I can attest that there has always been a significant inequity between education and police budgets, most of which was spent on salaries and equipment. In many jurisdictions, it was practice to settle teachers’ contracts first so we wouldn't have the new, more generous police contract to bargain against.
Yes, I had to buy many of my own supplies, and wish we had the additional money in lieu of spending on police riot gear.
If we can't adequately educate the students and help deal with their social issues, they will become more angry and defiant as adults and become a police problem. I could relate many case examples.
There is also the issue of police presence in schools as resource officers. I strongly believe that the presence of a uniformed officer did not add value, but created a negative atmosphere.
What is needed instead are more social workers in the schools who can liaise with the police, social services and other agencies involved in students' lives.
Remember, the resource officers I saw did not carry guns into the school, so they were not a deterrent or first line of defense in school shootings.
So yes, defund the portion of police budgets that is spent militarizing them and divert it to schools and other community-support structures that can help prevent children from growing into disenfranchised, angry adults.