Arrests in Bronx Schools Down by More Than 50%, But Borough Schools Still Had Most in City

Send to friend

Advocates for students say decline is step in right direction, but minority kids still disproportionately cuffed

Jennifer H. Cunningham, New York Daily News, 3/26/2013

Arrests and summonses in Bronx public schools have dropped by more than half in the first quarter of the school year, NYPD data show.

But the borough still led the city with the most arrests and summonses in schools, according to statistics the NYPD released to the City Council.

There were 36 students arrested in Bronx schools from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012, down 54% from the 78 students who were cuffed during the same time in 2011. Summonses in Bronx schools from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 declined 53% to 114, from 240 during the same period in 2011.

“Anything is possible,” said Lynn Sanchez, a Morrisania mother and member of the New Settlement Parent Action Committee, which has met with officials from the Department of Education and the NYPD School Safety Division over the last year and offered training to school safety agents on the impact of arrests and suspensions on students.

“Things can be done to improve the quality of education for our kids and the safety of our kids,” Sanchez said. “By having all stakeholders at the table, we’re making sure that we come up with good practices, and that they adopt these practices.”

Citywide, arrests were down 49%, from 279 to 141. Summonses fell 63%, to 196 from 532.

Citywide, there were 37 felony arrests, down from 74, and 100 misdemeanors, from 198.

Nearly 93 percent of the arrests were black and Latino students - roughly the same as in 2011.

“Even though the numbers decreased, the disproportionality is still the same,” said Shoshi Chowdhury, of the education advocacy group, Dignity in Schools Campaign. “That still remains a concern for us. We’re trying to see how we can support these young people.”

City Councilman Robert Jackson (Harlem), the chair of the Council’s education committee, noted the disproportionate number of black and Latino students arrested and issued summonses, and called for improvements to the NYPD’s school discipline policies .

“The disciplinary code and culture of our schools need to be reformed to reflect progressive guidance intervention techniques,” Jackson said. “Our work will not be done until these numbers are zeroed out and guidance counselors, social workers, and mentoring climates become a mainstay in all learning environments.”

Greg Floyd, president of the Local 237, which represents the school safety agents, said he supported the parents, safety agents and education officials working together to curb police action in schools.

“They are working diligently to keep crime down and do interventions so that they don’t have to make arrests,” Floyd said. “Arrests are the last resort.”

Originally published here.