Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3296–3306 | Cite as

Litigation and School Resource Officers

  • Paula E. ChanEmail author
  • Jennifer Counts
  • Antonis Katsiyannis
  • Joseph Ryan
Original Paper



The purpose of this paper was to review school discipline litigation involving school resource officers. Specifically, the authors sought to determine whether the courts have found school resource officers to be acting within the parameters of their job.


Authors searched Nexus Uni and Google Scholar to identify cases that matched the inclusion criteria. The search produced 44 cases, and cases were coded and examined to identify patterns in litigation involving school resource officers.


Results of this case law review found the most common violations involved the fourth (n = 29), fifth (n = 14), and fourteenth amendments (n = 8). Courts ruled for parents in 17% of cases, suggesting that in 83% of cases, the school resource officer, the school personnel, or the collaboration between the two parties were found acceptable by the courts.


The courts have largely ruled in favor of school personnel and school resource officers, suggesting that their performance meets the job expectations. However, other concerns may be relevant. Students were arrested in 61% of cases (n = 27), suggesting the presence of school resource officers may accelerate the school to prison pipeline. To prevent further escalating these issues, schools should have a clearly articulated memorandum of agreement, and use proactive strategies school such as school wide positive behavior interventions and support to prevent challenging behavior in schools.


School resource officers Discipline Litigation Public schools 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

This research was a case law review, thus, informed consent was not required because the data (i.e., court cases) were published primary sources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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