Police in schools have been a common sight for years, but amid a reckoning surrounding law enforcement and the effect on communities of color, some advocates are calling for an end to their presence. 

What You Need To Know

  • Advocates are calling for an end to police presence in schools.

  • The concern is primarily focused on schools where there are students of color.

  • But some Republicans say police are a beneficial presence in schools and can keep them safe.

"We're seeing that this is inherently the criminalization of black and brown bodies," said Maria Bautista, the campaigns manager for the Alliance for Quality Education, "and this is what's happening in our schools."

The concern especially focused on school districts that have predominantly students of color, who live in communities that already feel over policed, she said. 

"We're talking about schools that are predominantly black and brown," Bautista said. "We're talking about schools that are predominantly poor. So this conversation about police-free schools is happening in school districts that are being racially profiled."

But state Sen. Fred Akshar, a Republican and a former law enforcement official, says officers have a positive effect on schools. 

"Just from my own previous experiences, I understand the benefit of the relationships that school resource officers have with young people," Akshar said. 

And then there's the question of safety police officers are there to provide. 

"They're providing security within the confines of a school building," Akshar said. "I don't think I need to remind my colleagues of all the devastation and heartache that has occurred within school buildings."

But Bautista says schools have other ways of staying safe. 

"What keeps our schools safe is the people in the school buidling," she said. "It's the teachers and principals. It's the students. It's the counselors and social workers. It's the folks doing the restorative justice work that keeps our schools safe."

The call to lessen police presence at schools comes amid a broader discussion surrounding what jobs police should be doing in communities -- a discussion Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said local officials should be having.