New York, NY- According to the data released today, the number of arrests and summonses in New York City schools are decreasing, but while the decline is good news, Black and Latino students across the city continue to face unnecessary and excessive criminal consequences in schools.
The over-policing of communities of color results in too many young people being caught in an unjust criminal justice system. Now more than ever the city needs to take leadership and respond to federal policies designed to persecute and criminalize communities of color by transforming local policies that result in Black and Latino youth being pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system. We need to prevent and address incidents through education, community-building, Restorative Justice practices and other positive interventions rather than more harsh discipline and punishment.
The Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY) is calling on the DOE and NYPD to end all arrests and summonses for non-criminal violations and misdemeanors. We acknowledge that steps taken by the city—such as the expansion of legal services for students facing summonses and the introduction of a warning card system in schools—are a step in the right direction, but a true transformation will come from investing in resources for counselors in our schools rather than cops.
The DSC-NY coalition calls for citywide funding and implementation of positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve school climate, reduce conflict, and increase learning. Members include: Advocates for Children of New York, Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Center for Community Alternatives, Children’s Defense Fund-New York, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Future of Tomorrow, Girls for Gender Equity, Make the Road New York, Mass Transit Street Theater, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee, Rockaway Youth Task Force, Sistas and Brothas United, Teachers Unite, The Sikh Coalition, Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change, Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and Youth Represent.