An average of 5 students were arrested each day in New York City schools during the last three months of 2011, new NYPD data reveals. And of those students, a staggering 90 percent were black or latino.
In accordance with the School Safety Act passed by City Council–which requires the NYPD to release the school arrest statistics every three months–the NYPD released this report showing that from October 1 to December 31 of 2011, 279 students were arrested and another 532 students were issued summonses, mostly for disorderly conduct.
Despite comprising only 29 percent of the student population, black students made up 60 percent of the arrests while latinos, made up 30 percent. 75 percent of those arrested were male.
Teenage demonstrators gathered outside One Police Plaza Wednesday, CBS reports, chanting "Dignity For All Students” and “More Books, No Cops.”
One student at the protest said, "You have wonder what is the number going to be for the whole school year and we need to ask ourselves 'Is this school safety? Is this the NYPD showing us that they're keeping us safe by arresting us and giving us court summons for the most minor things?"
New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement, “If the Bloomberg administration is truly serious about helping young men of color succeed, then they must address these disparities and focus more attention on educating children–not arresting them.” She continued, "We call on the mayor, the schools chancellor and the police commissioner to commission an independent audit of these incidents of arrests to assess whether these situations would be better handled by educators. And to find out what the impact has been on children who misbehaved and, as a result, were sent into the criminal justice system."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne was quick to respond to the NYCLU's criticisms. "The NYCLU talks about arrests in schools but, conveniently, not crimes. There were 801 felonies in the schools last year, compared to 1,577 in 2001 before the current administration took office."
The last report on school arrests, released in November, revealed that during summer school in 2011, one student was arrested in New York every day, 94 percent of whom were black or latino.