Student perceptions of school resource officers and threat reporting


National debate over law enforcement in schools has largely overlooked student reporting of violent threats to school resource officer (SROs). This statewide assessment of Virginia high school students (n = 99,358) found that the majority of Black (64%), Hispanic (72%), White (71%), and other racial/ethnic identity (71%) students agreed the SRO made them feel safer at school. Logistic regressions revealed that positive perceptions of the SRO and frequency of speaking with the SRO were associated with increased willingness to report a peer who brought a gun to school or talked about killing someone. Perceptions of the SRO interacted with student race/ethnicity such that favorable views reduced disparities in nonwhite students’ willingness to report a peer with a gun. Although correlational, these results suggest that positive relationships with SROs encourage students to report threats of peer violence.

In Journal of School Violence.