Header Image

Campaign Updates

Students and CPD Urge NYC Mayor and City Council to Invest in Social, Mental Health Supports in Schools and Divest from Racist School Policing Policies

Community groups led by high school students called for the City to significantly increase the investment in guidance counselors, social workers, and restorative practices; establish a school based mental health network; institute a moratorium on installing metal detectors in schools; and, end arrests, summons, and juvenile reports in schools for misdemeanors and non-criminal violations.


NEW YORK, NY -- Young people and community groups  demanded an end to discriminatory police practices including an end to arrests, summons, and NYPD juvenile reports in schools for misdemeanors and non-criminal violations during a City Council hearing regarding the role of NYPD School Safety Agents in New York City Schools on Tuesday, November 21st. In addition, they called for a moratorium on the installation of metal detectors in schools and the removal of currently installed machines.

The young people are organized by the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), a coalition that includes community organizations Make the Road New York, Sistas and Brothas United, and Future of Tomorrow. 

Black and Latinx youth account for nearly all the young people funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline and are increasingly vulnerable to the school-to-deportation pipeline. The hearing coincides with the release of new data from the NYPD showing shockingly high and unacceptable racial disparities in arrests, summons, juvenile reports, and the use of handcuffs on students during a mental health crisis. An analysis completed by Urban Youth Collaborative and the Center for Popular Democracy, shows:

  • Black girls are 14.4 times more likely to be arrested and 6.9 times more likely to be issued a summons than white girls.

  • Black and Latino youth represent 67% of all students, but account for 92% of all arrests, 89% of all summons, and 88% of all juvenile reports.

  • 97% of all arrests of middle school age students (under the age of 14) are of Black or Latinx students. Nearly 78% of all arrests, summons, and juvenile reports in schools are for misdemeanors and non-criminal violations.

At the hearing, a number of speakers highlighted these severe racial disparities characterizing the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipelines and called for urgent, transformative policy reform. Recent policy changes regarding the mandate of NYPD officers in schools have led to only a 14% reduction in arrests and summonses from 2016 to the most recent twelve months’ worth of data. Testimonies during the hearing highlighted the analysis of the new NYPD data released on Wednesday which shows that during the last year young people in NYC schools experienced 1,085 arrests, 961 NYPD juvenile reports, 808 summonses, and 2,752 mental health crises in schools in which NYPD officers intervened. Youth leaders will call for the City Council’s support in urging the Mayor to end the practice of using arrests, summonses, and juvenile reports for misdemeanors and non-criminal violations.

“When Black boys are 7.1 times more likely to be arrested and 4.6 times more likely to receive a summons than White boys and Black girls are 14.4 times more likely to be arrested and 6.9 times more likely to be issued a summons than White girls in NYC schools, it’s clear we are criminalized because of the color of our skin. It’s 2017 and almost all students being arrested and receiving summons are Black and Latinx. Generations of Black and Latinx youth have been harmed by bringing police into our schools and generations will continue to be harmed if we don’t make significant changes” said Matthew Beeston, a youth leader with the Urban Youth Collaborative. “We are calling for the complete end of arrests, summons, and juvenile reports in schools for misdemeanors and violations and the progressive removal of all police and metal detectors from our schools.”

“The city must stop criminalizing normal youthful behavior - 78 percent of all arrests, summons, and juvenile reports are for misdemeanors and violations - and instead invest in restorative practices, mental health care, and guidance counselors. Young people will continue to suffer at the hands of ineffective and racist practices so long as we rely on police rather than support systems to create safe schools. The city must be bold enough to reimagine safety so that it is rooted in effective and humane practices of support rather than policing” said Roberto Cabanas the Coordinator for the Urban Youth Collaborative. “Time and time again we are reminded that young people are the best resource we have for developing successful and sustainable policies for every school in every neighborhood.”

“Ninety-seven percent of students middle school age or younger who were arrested in school were Black or Latinx, while they represent just 67 percent of the student population. The most recent data shows modest declines in the number of arrests and summons, but the deep and persistent racial disparities shows the city continues to systematically criminalize students of color” said Kate Terenzi, Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Center for Popular Democracy. “To shift from discriminatory and racist practices to a new understanding of discipline we have have to embrace the solutions developed by the young people who have been harmed by our current policies and practices.”


Contact: Samy Nemir, Center for Popular Democracy, solivares@populardemocracy.org or (929) 285-9623 and Roberto Cabanas, Urban Youth Collaborative, Roberto.Urbanyouthcollab@gmail.com or (973) 432-2406

NOTE: More PHOTOS here from September rally and Spanish version available upon request.




The Urban Youth Collaborative is led by students young people and brings together New York City students to fight for real education reform that puts students first. Demanding a high-quality education for all students, young people struggle for social, economic, and racial justice in the city’s schools and communities. Organizational members include: Make the Road New York, Sistas and Brothas United, and Future of Tomorrow


Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda