Black, Brown, and disabled students are experiencing adverse interactions with School Resource Officers (SROs) at disproportionate rates, feeding the school-to-prison pipeline. U.S. public schools have a duty to students to create a safe school without lifelong harmful effects. As a nation, we must re-envision what public school “health and safety” means in the 21st through ESSA and federal police reform. The reality is that many Black, Brown, and disabled children are eventually funneled into the juvenile justice system through a public school system. This is one parent and one child’s journey that reflects many others’ truth and consequences for simply being disabled, being of color, or being male in an American public school. Ms. Olafson will discuss the complex and layered journey that has brought a growing personal knowledge of how school systems “police” target population through implicit bias and school policies that allow criminalization of student behavior without due process through the public school system as experienced in her state and throughout our nation. Ms. Olafson will discuss the positive benefits that can be achieved when school-based mental health providers are made available through federal or state funding.
Teresa has been blessed with two amazing sons that have raised her to be a fierce advocate when she would have enjoyed simply being “mom”. She is currently concluding her master’s in nursing administration and management and hopes to expand her learning on the neurobiology of trauma. Newer to advocacy, she is passionate about empowering families and creating positive impact on educational, health care and political systems through shared knowledge.