A campaign made up of public school students, teachers, parents and City Council members released startling data about arrests and summons in schools. The criticism stems from the Student Safety Act, enacted in 2011, which requires the NYPD to submit quarterly reports to the City Council on arrests, summonses and other police-student interactions in the schools.
Last week, the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York held a press conference at One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan demanding better school safety policies. Data show that when it comes to policing in schools, students of color are being targeted.
Of the nearly 300 school arrests, a shocking 93.5 percent of students were either Black or Latino, with many arrested for minor offenses. Several students spoke at the press conference about their experiences when encountering police in school. Advocates say that the police presence in school is a creating a prison pipeline for youth.
“When I was a student in high school, every day I was harassed by school safety agents [SSAs] and NYPD officers. Me and my friends were threatened, frisked and discriminated against to the point where many of us never made it past high school,” said Nilesh Viswashrao, an 18-year-old youth leader of Desis Rising Up and Moving. “One particular incident was when I walked into a fight outside of my school and NYPD officers and SSAs came to break it up, and even though I had nothing to do with it, I was handcuffed to a fence and searched by the officers and then questioned.”