In three out of five of the largest school districts in the US, security staff outnumber the counselors, sometimes by a 3:1 ratio, according to data gathered by the education website The 74.
Counselors are typically tasked with helping students with their schoolwork, mental and behavioral issues, or getting into college. Experts recommend that the counselor-to-student ratio be 25o to 1. In the case of Houston, the seventh-largest school district in the nation, there is one counselor for a whopping 1,288 students–and one security officer per 860. The school district even has its own police force.
The majority of students in these districts are not white–and black kids are much more likely to be disciplined. Black students are expelled three times more often than white students, and while they constitute 16% of students enrolled in American schools, they represent 31% of school-related arrests. In New York City, 100,000 high-school and middle-school students–disproportionately children of color–have to go through a metal detector in order to get into school, despite crime in city schools dropping significantly in recent years. Research also shows that black students who display behavioral issues get criminalized–a process known as the “school-to-prison” pipeline–while white kids receive treatment and medical attention.