Students object to police presence in school


Laquan McDonald. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Antwon Rose…BT Khumbah. Wait, BT Khumbah? I’m not one of the innocent teenagers slain by the unjust hands of crooked police officers, so why am I on the list? In all honesty, my name could easily end up on the list. Each of these victims are no different than me. For them, one unfortunate encounter with law enforcement cost them their bright, young lives. Don’t get me wrong, police officers have their place. They are critical members of our society that are imperative to keep order in the chaos we live in today. However, let them serve where their presence is warranted, and here it’s not. Specifically, police officers should remain outside of Pioneer High School’s walls. If not, my life, my story, and my destiny could be snatched in the blink of an eye. Or in this case, the pulling of a trigger.

The issue of police officers at Pioneer resurfaced when a number of students began noticing police officers and vehicles on campus during the last half of the school day. This sparked outrage within the student body because students didn’t feel comfortable with them around. “Having the police in Pioneer makes me feel less safe,” expressed junior Layla Dobbins.

“They are obligated to respond to situations that would otherwise be handled without their force.” Senior Komarus Hodge added an alternative perspective when he called their presence “alarming” and a tactical threat against Pioneer’s growing Black Student Union. “They are in our area,” said Hodge. “I never feel safe”.

With the students of Pioneer upset about the current situation, I sat down with Principal Lowder to uncover the truth behind the recent police activities. During our conversation, he addressed how the commotion might have blown out of proportion. “Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve had two missing kid situations, and had a kid who we thought committed suicide,” he explained. The interview extended into a conversation in which he shifted his focus to uplifting the unhappy students. When presented with the opinions of Pioneer students on police in school, he responded, “I’d never allow anything bad to happen to my kids, ever. [The students] are my priority and if [they] are unhappy, I’ll do everything in my power to restore [their] satisfaction.” With Principal Lowder’s intentions in the right direction, one can only hope that the students’ voices’ are heard.

For those who aren’t acquainted with Pioneer’s environment, its campus is located in the heart of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a two-minute walk across the street from the University of Michigan’s Big House. Not only is the crime rate extremely low in such a prestige area, but the nearest police station sits under a mile away. In the case of an emergency, police have been trained to arrive at Pioneer within a minute of being requested. These withstanding, the school tragedies in the media make it understandable for guardians to be concerned for the safety of their loved ones. To accommodate for families who need a little extra assurance, hall monitors have been employed to enforce orderly conduct in the building. Being amidst such a renowned community and with the current use of hall monitors, why would one waste both the precious time and money to order armed individuals to invade our safe haven? While there is no valid answer to justify such an act, the fact of the matter remains the same: police officers should not loiter the halls of Pioneer.

In order for Pioneer to be a learning sanctuary for all students, it must maintain the upkeep of student satisfaction. It would be most unfortunate for such a premier institution to degrade into despair through the adaption of prison-like reforms. Students should not need to risk their lives in order to receive the promised education we all desire. Whether there is an undercover malicious attack on the minority students, or a simple misunderstanding, valuing the safety of Pioneer students means valuing a police-free Pioneer High School.