School Resource Officers and Student Arrest Inclination
The problem examined in this study was the harming of students arrested in schools and related human and fiscal costs. The purpose was to identify arrest decision-making processes of school resource officers (SROs) and non-SROs and examine how arrest inclinations may lead to the concept of a school-to-prison pipeline. Black's theory of arrest and the factors of amount of evidence, suspect demeanor, wishes of the victim, seriousness of the offense, and the relationship between victim and suspect was the theoretical framework for this study. Six research questions were tested to examine relationships between SROs, non-SROs, and the arrest of students. Additionally, years of experience, prior service as an SRO, length of service in an SRO assignment, section of the state, and the type of community the officer served were considered. This correlational study included a total of 134 law enforcement officers as participants. Bivariate and multiple regression tests, along with directional and symmetric measures, were conducted, revealing correlations between SROs and the likelihood of arresting juveniles. Additionally, prior service and years of service in a school assignment were shown to have significant levels of correlation. Positive social change implications of this study include informing stakeholders about SROs potentially being a moderating factor in the school-to-prison pipeline. The findings can also be used to guide policymakers in decisions regarding law enforcements operation and practices, which may mitigate the potential harm to students if SROs are removed because of perceived harm or contribution to what has been called a school-to-prison pipeline.