An Examination of School Resource Officers' Attitudes Regarding Behavioral Issues among Students Receiving Special Education Services
For many parents and educators, school safety is one of the most important issues in the United States. Despite anecdotal evidence that students receiving special education services are often negatively stereotyped by school administrators and educators for behaviors threatening school order and safety, and despite increased media attention to the interaction between students receiving special education services and law enforcement officers in schools, no research has examined perceptions of school resource officers toward these students. Because school resource officers are now a permanent part of the school culture, and because disproportionate numbers of students receiving special education services are disciplined (e.g., school suspensions and arrests) each year, research is needed to examine attitudes of SROs regarding the presence and behaviors of students receiving special education services. Data collected from 130 School Resource Officers (SROs) in Kentucky revealed that large portions of SROs perceived that behaviors of students receiving special education services had a negative impact on the school environments and these perceptions had little association with the SRO’s demographic and experiential variables. Implications for policy and future research are addressed.