School Required Teachers To Call Police On Students For Teasing, Name-Calling, Artwork And More

In May, New Jersey’s Collingswood Public School System adopted a new policy that required teachers to report all incidents of student misbehavior to police.

According to Collingswood Police Chief Kevin Carey, the policy required police to respond to incidents they previously would not have investigated, including anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”

According to Carey, nearly every student report was forwarded to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Between the time the school adopted the new policy and the end of the school year, about a month later, police had been called on Kindergartners for arguing, second-graders for calling each other names like “fat” and “short,” a game of tag that was “too rough,” and much more.

Police were called on an elementary school student who reportedly made a “gun noise,” and “held his ukulele like a gun.” Another elementary school student was reported to police for calling another student “cheater,” during gym class.

Police were called over a picture drawn by a student at Tatem Elementary School. The student reportedly drew a zombie holding a gun.

Two second-graders were also reported to police for “roughhousing” on their way to lunch.

The list of minor infractions goes on and on. Philly.com reports that many of the incidents were not even witnessed by teachers, but were made in response to complaints from other students.

A parent called the school to express concerns about a game of tag that she thought was getting “too rough.” The parent later said she just wanted the school to keep a better eye on the kids during recess. The school reported the call to police.

The Inquirer obtained police reports for at least 22 police visits to Collingswood Schools during a one month time period. Links to reports made by each of the district’s six schools can also be found here.

The school district, police and prosecutor’s office all worked together to create the new policy. Parents were not informed of the change to school policy until June 27, ten days after the school year ended. In all cases, the students were interviewed by police without a parent or guardian present.

It seems that local officials were hoping to get an early start on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Outraged parents demanded that the school get rid of the new policy. According to Philly.com, the school system will return to the former policy of reporting students to the police only if weapons, drugs, or sexual misconduct are involved.


Image credit: Collingswood Police Department via Facebook