Left-wing indoctrination has been at the center of ongoing education activism as parents protested school boards for encouraging or permitting one-sided political narratives to be taught in public schools. A recent example of indoctrination’s effects is a recent anti-police rally at the office of a Maryland public school administrative building.
High school students rallied outside the building where the Montgomery County Board of Education meets to protest the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) policies of having police officers work in their schools.
Local media quoted several protesting students who said that police officers scare students and their presence “does nothing to help students.” MCPS official, Ruschelle Reuben, told a local media outlet, “What we are saying is we are working to build relationships to have our CEOs be trusted partners and members of our school community, to be able to have a direct line of contact with our schools.” Reuben’s official title is the Chief of Teaching, Learning and Schools.
MCPS changed the name of their police officer program from the traditional school resource officer (SRO) to the Community Engagement Office (CEO) model. The CEO model, since its implementation, could undergo some new changes, such as no permanent assignments at a particular school.
The students were a part of an activist group called Young People for Progress. Their stated goal was to force MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight to remove police officers from schools, as well as promote “restorative justice” and mental health services. A local website published their press release, which in part claimed that police officers in schools are “dangerous and counter” to student wellbeing.
The press release said it is a “reality that police are not effective in preventing violence in our schools” and cited a statistic that in school shootings, police officers escalated violence. It went on to say that police officer presence in schools “increase student anxiety and worsen school climate, increase student arrests and involvement in the criminal justice system, and especially harm students of color and students with disabilities.” The group claimed that black students were unfairly targeted by police officers and that “it is clear that police in schools serves to jeopardize student well-being and does not effectively support student needs.”
The group took issue with McKnight’s decision to implement the school system’s CEO plan. The group’s solution is to implement “restorative justice practitioners and training for all adults and students in schools,” in addition to employing “culturally competent, and trauma-informed social workers and mental health practitioners.”
Yet, there was no definition of what constituted “culturally competent,” “trauma-informed” or “restorative justice.” Based on other progressive groups’ claims about restorative justice, one can infer it means to take police officers off street patrols or school properties and rely on social workers to mediate conflicts, even though social workers do not have the means to defend themselves if the conflicts escalate.
The activist group’s website said that the group was formed in 2019 as a “community organizing and social justice organization of young people, aged under 35… that strives to create power among youth and young adults through engaging in issue campaigns and voter education campaigns.” The group said that one of its goals is to “build the case for systemic changes to policing.”
Contrary to the protesting students’ demands, recent events in MCPS highlighted the need for having a police presence in schools. In January 2022, a student shot another student at Magruder High School, which led to a maelstrom of criticism about lax security policies. Then, in February 2022, a fight broke out between players and spectators close to the end of a boys’ basketball game between the Winston Churchill and James Hubert Blake high schools.