Puget Sound student Ruthy McBride ’22 researches restorative justice and policing practices in public schools

A 6-year-old girl sobs and whines as a police officer ties her hands with zip ties and escorts her out of a Florida classroom into a waiting police car. The incident was captured by a police officer’s body camera in September 2020, and it’s one of many problematic incidents between students and school police officers that is causing educators and activists nationwide to reconsider school policing policies. Ruthy McBride ’22 has a few ideas.

McBride, a politics and government major and African American studies and economics minor who grew up in Los Angeles, Calif., spent the summer researching restorative justice and policing practices in public schools in the hope of offering alternatives to the structures of discipline currently in place. The goal of her project was twofold: draft a policy to remove police officers from schools and create new standards for teachers that outline how best to educate students of different backgrounds.