This photo story features the work of Daniel Kibezi, 12 years old, a student at Milwood Middle School in the sixth grade. This is Daniel’s second session with Kalamazoo Voices of Youth. He enjoys photography and uses this art form to explore the topic of policing in schools. The Voices of Youth program is a collaboration between Southwest Michigan Second Wave and KYD Network, underwritten by the Stryker Johnston Foundation.
Photos and captions for this are created for this story for illustration purposes and do not depict actual events.
A student waits at a bus stop, but has been there for a very long time. A police officer stationed at the school nearby is concerned.
This picture shows a solution. A girl has been at her bus stop for a long time, and she is depressed and sad because the bus or her parents are not coming to pick her up. The police officer is coming back for her night shift and sees the girl there. Unlike other people, the officer sat down and tried to comfort her. Some kids don't have great support or kind love from police officers at their school so that is a struggle for teenagers.
One of the solutions the art students thought of when it comes to policing in schools, is that the police officers can be more willing to help than to judge prematurely.
A student attempts to explain to an officer about how they got involved with a altercation that took place at the school.
The young girl is trying to talk to the police officer closely, so others don't listen. The officer is actively listening, and not just dozing off into the Disney Land that's in her head. The girl informs the officer that she does not know about what happened in the fight. The police officer believes the students rather than the teachers.
One of the problems or opportunities for growth that the art students identified for policing in schools was that the officers do not take the time to actually listen to the young folks when there is an issue. Blanket punishments are typical and are not assessing the issue critically.