New Data Released Shows Youth of Color Continue to be Targeted by NYPD at Higher Rates in NYC Public Schools

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June 3, 2013
Contact: Shoshi Chowdhury, Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY, (347) 832-8391, shoshi(at)nesri(dot)org

June 3, 2013 — The number of arrests and tickets issued in New York City public schools continued to decline during the first quarter of 2013, according to data released today by the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York. But while the decline is good news, disparities in arrests and tickets remain shockingly high with black and Latino students bearing the brunt of the NYPD’s school discipline policies.

Furthermore, the current data is incomplete because it only includes arrests and summonses by School Safety Agents (SSAs), not sworn police officers, even though there are many instances when police from local precincts are making the arrest or issuing the summons in school.

According to the new data provided by the NYPD to the City Council under the Student Safety Act, there were 157 arrests and 206 summonses issued between January 1 and March 31, 2013. This is a 52 percent decrease in arrests and a 63 percent decrease in summonses compared to the same three-month period in 2012. But 91 percent of arrested students were black or Latino, with many arrested for minor offenses.

“Although the numbers are down, the data doesn't tell us why or how that's happening. There are still too many cops and SSAs in schools and not enough social workers and guidance counselors or programs that actually help you, rather than just arrest and criminalize you. Too many youth of color are being unnecessarily arrested, the NYPD doesn't belong in schools, the students, administrators, parents and community members do,” said Nilesh Viswashrao, Youth Leader of DRUM-Desis Rising Up and Moving-and DSCNY.

The continued decline in arrests and summonses is a step in the right direction, but the disproportionate arrests of Black and Latino students remains and requires immediate action. The NYPD and the DOE must work together to address these racial disparities in both arrests and school suspensions.

On May 30, the New York School-Justice Partnership Task Force released its report highlighting the racial disparities in arrests and summonses and calling for a new mayoral-led initiative that would among other things limit SSAs and police from intervening in school discipline matters.

Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY members will be testifying about steps the Department of Education must take to reduce suspensions and criminalization of students at the upcoming public hearing on the 2013-2014 Discipline Code to take place Thursday, June 6 at 6:00pm at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers Street, New York, NY.

Click here see NYPD data.

Click here to see DSC's Arrest Data Analysis for Jan-Mar 2013