In September of 2013, Connecticut Voices for Children , an independent research and advocacy organization, released its report on school-based arrests with an accompanying online database. “Arresting Development: Student Arrests in Connecticut” assesses the most recent available data from the State Department of Education on school arrests, dispels myths, and provides comprehensive action items to further reduce arrest rates across the state. According to the report, there were 2,936 school-based arrests in Connecticut during the 2010-2011 school year.
The action items offered by Connecticut Voices for Children are:
- Defining the exact meaning of “student arrest”
- More thorough data collection on arrests
- Official collaborations between communities and state entities
- Invest in school and peer-based arrest reduction
- Implement memoranda of agreements between police departments and schools (see our model MOU here)
- Promote training for educators and police
- Use and expand upon Juvenile Review Boards
- Access to mental health services for all
- Enforcement of truancy laws and special education services
- Integrate school climate plan, bullying policy, and arrest reduction
Many states do not make arrest data available or do not publish current data, which complicates the ability to identify areas of disproportionate impact. Hopefully, Connecticut’s transparency in providing data in order to seek improvement will inspire other states to do the same.