I honestly don’t know if this is a problem or not. We don’t want teachers and administrators enforcing discipline if a student is truly committing a crime like assault or theft. It would be appropriate to call the police. So are Wisconsin’s school employees quicker on that trigger? Is there a higher degree of criminal behavior in Wisconsin’s schools? Is anyone actually doing anything wrong or is this just reflecting the reality?
Public schools in Wisconsin referred students to police twice as often as schools nationwide in 2017-18 — nine students were referred to police for every 1,000 students enrolled compared to the national rate of 4.5, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of U.S. Department of Education data found.
Just three states — New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia — reported higher rates of referral than Wisconsin.
The analysis of data from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico found that school policing disproportionately affects students with disabilities, Black children and, in some states, Native American and Latino children. Nationwide, Black students and students with disabilities were referred to law enforcement at nearly twice their share of the overall student population.
In Wisconsin, students with disabilities and students of color also bore the brunt of school policing. In 2017-18, Wisconsin was more likely than any other state to refer Native students to law enforcement, reporting a rate over three times higher than the rate of referral for their white peers.