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Campaign Updates

02/17/2020 | Justice Transformation, Organizing for Education Justice, Restoring a Fair Workweek

Youth Leaders and Allies React to NYPD’s Latest School Safety Data

Youth leaders have won significant reductions in arrests and summons in NYC schools, but Black and Latinx students continue to face the brunt of racially discriminatory school policing.

NEW YORK, NY -- Last week, the NYPD released their most recent data on school safety. The report, which is the first full quarter of school year data since the new school climate reforms were announced last year, shows that overall numbers of school arrests and summons have gone down significantly, but racial disparities in policing action remain high. 

Key analysis of the data:

  • The overall number of arrests decreased by 54.4% and summons decreased by nearly 59% as compared to last year’s data at this time. 

  • Black students represent 25.5% of district enrollment, yet were 54.8% of all students arrested. While this proportion is lower than corresponding data from 2018 (in which Black students were 60% of those arrested), it is still more than twice the representation of Black students in the district.

  • In addition to the racial disparities remaining high, the number of juvenile reports increased by 34% in the past year and by 82.3% in the past three years. In addition, 90.2% of students who received juvenile reports last quarter were Black or Latinx, a proportion which has not reduced since 2018.

The data validates calls by youth-led organizations and allies across the city for the Mayor to end arrests, summons, and juvenile reports in schools for non-criminal violations and misdemeanors. 

In response to the data, representatives from Urban Youth Collaborative and the Center for Popular Democracy released the following statements:

“These decreases in arrests and summons are a direct result of years of organizing by Black and Latinx youth, including leaders of Urban Youth Collaborative, who have called for the city to end arrests and summons in schools and stop the mass criminalization of youth of color,” said Kesi Foster, Organizer, Make the Road New York & The Urban Youth Collaborative.

"This data is only scratching the surface of what Black students and other students of color go through on the daily. Normal youthful behavior of Black and Brown students is still being criminalized. School is a place to learn and should be a place for all students to feel safe but we don’t feel safe with metal detectors and police. The city is trying to normalize police being involved in every part of our lives, but that’s not right, and it’s not what we need. We need to remove police and metal detectors and invest more funding in social, emotional, and mental health support and staff,” said Keneisha Buckley, a 15-year old youth leader at the Rockaway Youth Task Force. 

"The reduction in the number of arrests and summonses in schools is a welcome change, driven by the work and vision of Black and Brown young people," said Kate Terenzi, Staff Attorney for Education Justice Campaigns, Center for Popular Democracy. "While arrests and summonses have gone down, we have seen a dramatic increase in juvenile reports and essentially no change in the racial disparities. The progress on arrests and summons that we see today must be followed by truly dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline which will mean creating police-free schools, and a complete end to arrests, summonses, and juvenile reports for misdemeanors and violations in schools."

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Media Contact: Trisa Taro, ttaro@populardemocracy.org

Photo via Brooklyn Ink
Monday, February 17, 2020