School resource officers and students’ rights

Matthew T. Theriot, Matthew J. Cuellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Abstract: The safety of students at American schools has become a national priority. With every incident of lethal violence, public fear swells and the demand for effective violence prevention methods increases. School resource officer (SRO) programs that assign sworn law enforcement officers to schools are frequently identified as one straightforward and popular strategy for making schools safer and more secure. However, the placement of these officers at schools raises complex issues and poses new challenges to students’ rights, including the risks of unreasonable search and seizure, the inappropriate sharing of confidential information, and students’ decreased feelings of safety. In this paper, the authors will provide the reader with a review of these students’ rights issues and the possible consequences to students and schools when these rights are not respected. The authors then provide the reader with a review of the relevant literature on the relationship between SROs and students and outlines specific recommendations for the successful implementation and operation of SRO programs that foster positive and respectful connections with students and school officials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-379
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • School resource officers
  • school safety
  • school violence
  • students’ rights
  • violence prevention


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