The Effects of Police Violence on Students

Research Rundown Issue: June '20
Publisher: Harvard University
Date Published: June '20


New research from Harvard finds that police violence has a negative and disproportionate impact on Black and Latino students. From analyzing student data on more than 700,000 high schoolers in the context of over 600 police officer-involved killings, the research found that students who lived near an officer-involved killing experience significant decreases in their grade-point average and increased incidence of emotional disturbances that last for several semesters. These findings varied across lines of race and ethnicity: While white and Asians student outcomes were unaffected, Black and Latino students were strongly and negatively impacted by these events, particularly when they involved unarmed people of color. Ultimately, students exposed to police violence were significantly less likely to graduate from high school or to enroll in college.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

This study highlights the importance of supporting students in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. There must be intentional and collaborative work done between youth, families, and educators to create environments that are student-centered.  This starts with listening to the needs of their students, and particularly students of color. According to Minnesota’s 2019 Student Survey:

  • 37% of Black and Latino students, and 41% of Native American students do not think their teachers are interested in them as a person,
  • 37% of Black and Native American students, and 32% of Latino students do not think the school rules are fair, and
  • 20% of Black and Native American students, and 16% of Latino students do not think their teachers care about students.

It’s time for Minnesota to listen to students of color and work with them to advance solutions that support their social-emotional, mental health, and developmental needs, while also bringing an end to police violence.

Explore the findings