Anne Arundel County Public Schools staff already have abundant resources to intimidate parents perceived as potential critics.

This includes penalizing parents’ children with poor grades, poor teachers, and poor extracurricular options; selective and arbitrary enforcement of AACPS’s purposively vague policies/laws, including grievance procedures, that place the interests of staff above families; a brazen double standard for staff vs. family politicking using school resources, including staff, technology, and meeting spaces; the red shield of silence among school staff like the similar blue shield among police; and justice and media systems that find it in their self-interest to turn a blind eye to such abuses.Advertisement

This political environment explains parents’ and students’ culture of public sycophancy toward AACPS staff, even when those staff members engage in egregious abuses. To this powerful toolkit to intimidate parents has been added police powers, euphemistically called “school resource officers.”

Of course, nowhere in the mission statement for these school police will one find such a job description. But there has been unaccountable mission creep among these officers since they’ve entered the school building.

Inevitably, they seek to develop a good relationship with school administrators within their buildings and come to see the world through those administrators’ eyes. This gives administrators a powerful new tool to intimidate potential critics.

The great majority of administrators may resist this temptation, but not all have. Eliminating this temptation to abuse power while maintaining the positive features of school police power may be difficult. But to keep the schools democratically accountable, it is worth the effort.

Source: Snider, J.H., Police In Anne Arundel Can Be Used To Intimidate Critics, Capital, April 27, 2021.