St. Louis County, MO — Over the last decade, TFTP has been reporting on the encroachment of the police state into the public education system. As we previously reported, schools across the country are increasingly hiring police officers to do the job that teachers and guidance counselors once did. This is resulting in the criminalization of childhood as well as increased police violence against children. Never, however, have we reported on what you are about to read below.
While the data shows that students have declining access to a kind and caring role model to guide them through their high school careers, the number of students who have access to a police officer is growing.
A whopping 1.6 million (k – 12th grade) students attend a school that employs a law enforcement officer -- but has no counselor.
According to a Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) survey, which counted cops in schools for the very first time in 2014, 24 percent of elementary schools and 42 percent of high schools have armed police officers. In schools with higher concentrations of minorities that number skyrockets.
Now, as schools districts react to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing something even more ominous than an increase in cops in schools. We are seeing cops going to the homes of students.
Parents of at least 1,500 children in St. Louis County are speaking out this month after armed officers have been showing up to their homes. To be clear, the children have not been accused of a crime, instead, the cops are showing up to discuss grades with students and parents — while carrying their guns.
Yes, you read that correctly. Armed agents of the state — with absolutely zero training in how to teach children — are going door to door to talk to children and parents about their grades. The parents who have been visited, however, aren't buying it, don't want it, and say that officers showing up at their homes is a scare tactic.
"It was unimaginable, I can't even really describe how I felt in the moment," Porsha Outen told KSDK.
Outen said she was frightened and panicked the entire time the cop was in her home.
"I was shaking my voice was cracking, I was emotional because I did not understand," said Outen. "I couldn't keep my eyes off his firearm."
Outen explained to KSDK the officer showed up with a counselor — unannounced at their door — at 8:30 a.m. after students returned from Christmas break. Outen's daughter, a 15-year-old student at Ritenour High School, allegedly failed to turn in an assignment, so a cop was sent to her home.
"He questioned my daughter about the work that she was supposed to turn in, she answered him, he also asked her if she understood what she was saying to him. At that point I said this conversation is over," said Outen.
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Another parent, Christine Troupe told the media outlet that they received a visit from police as well.
"The implication of the police showing up to your house is like you've done something wrong and it's like even if you've not done anything it's that feeling of something is criminal is happening here," said Troupe.
Troupe said the cop was at their house because her child has a failing grade in a ceramics art class.
"If the intention is to help our kids or hold them accountable then to me that's not conducive to them learning basically it's a scare tactic it's something you do for something you're serving a warrant on not for a child that may need a tutor for a ceramics art class," said Troupe.
School officials — who are now hiding behind the barrel of a gun to carry out their duties — claim the intention is not to intimidate and after the feedback they received, they say police will be told to act differently.
"The presence of an officer is triggering, we've gotten that feedback now so now the responsibility is on us in that specific situation to act differently," said
Superintendent Dr. Kilbride, adding that the district has carried out over 1,500 of these visits since August.
"It's about positive visits as well, it's about resources, it's also about areas for improvement as well," he added.
But parents don't see the visits as a positive experience at all and want this to stop immediately. Since she was visited by police, Outen has teamed up with the NAACP to make sure they don't happen anymore.
"As a parent I don't ever want my child to associate her education with a police officer, I don't want my child associating a grade that needs to be approved with a gun," said Outen.
It seems that schools in America are starting to more closely resemble prisons than learning facilities. Think about it — before being locked down in their homes for COVID, children were locked behind steel doors all day long as armed agents of the state patrol the grounds. A few minutes out of the day, the students are given a little yard time — and again, they are kept under the watch of armed state agents.
Video after video shows the horrific nature of such a practice as children are seen being pepper sprayed, beaten, and tasered for normal childhood behaviors. And now, these armed agents are coming to the homes. A slippery slope indeed.