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An increasing number of police officers can be found in school buildings throughout the country. Often called to address threats of violence, law enforcement officers are arresting individuals at schools daily. Newly released information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education revealed Pittsburgh schools are among the highest in arrest records.
According to police data, five schools in the Pittsburgh area are among the top 25 in Pennsylvania for police citations and arrests. Over 350 arrests occurred in Pittsburgh public schools, which educate over 20,000 students. As listed in the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Safe School Report, the following schools saw over 20 arrests and/or citations for the 2018-2019 academic year: Pittsburgh Oliver, Pittsburgh Perry High School, Pittsburgh Carrick High School, Pittsburgh Brashear High School, and the Academy at Westinghouse.
Critics of the use of law enforcement in educational settings have expressed concerns about over policing in many Pittsburgh schools. When police officers are posted at local public schools, the number of arrests inevitably increases, which sometimes reflects overly aggressive police behavior. Others worry that an increased presence of police officers in schools will lead to increased incidents of police misconduct, especially the use of excessive force against vulnerable students.
To address the potential for over policing, law enforcement and the Pittsburgh public school system are working on formal methods for protecting the civil rights of students. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, the police and school district are working to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding, which would set forth the ground rules for interrogating, detaining, and arresting students in Pittsburgh public schools. Student advocacy groups, including the Education Rights Network, seek even greater protection in schools with permanent installed police forces.
With such a high number of arrests occurring at schools and the power to criminalize normal teenage antics, the risk of police misconduct occurring against arrested students has increased. By filing a civil lawsuit against the police officer, their superior officers, and the police department, victims of police brutality can obtain compensation for the trauma they endured. In addition to compensatory damages, victims of police brutality often claim punitive damages and an award of attorney’s fees against defendant officers.
If you were the victim of police brutality, you may be entitled to compensation. At Williams Cedar, our experienced Pennsylvania police misconduct lawyers stand beside individuals who suffered from the trauma of police brutality and help them obtain the justice they deserve. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve police brutality victims throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 215-557-0099 or submit an online inquiry form.