Posts tagged "New York Civil Liberties Union"
February 22, 2012
Police officers arrested more students and handed out more tickets in schools as the school year got underway, according to new data released today. On average, five students were arrested per day on school grounds between October and December 2011.
Those statistics come from a trove of data the New York Police Department is required to release under a relatively new law mandating the disclosure of information about in-school arrests and suspensions. The first data dump, released in late November and compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, showed police had arrested or ticketed roughly four students per day on school grounds between July and September.
Both reports show that disproportionate number of black and Latino students were being arrested and ticketed. 74.9 percent of those arrested during the fall quarter were male, and 93.5 percent were black or Latino. Black and Latino students make up about 71 percent of students in city schools.
Over the 55 school-day period between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, NYPD reported nearly 2,300 incidents. Of those, 279 resulted in arrests and 532 in summonses. According to NYCLU’s analysis, 63 percent of summonses were for disorderly conduct. of the arrests, about 120, or 40 percent, were labelled as assault or related to assault.
This afternoon, politicians joined representatives from the ACLU’s New York chapter and several student advocacy groups to decry the statistics as evidence that police involvement in schools leads to racial discrimination and a fearful environment. As a ring of police officers looked on, advocates rallying outside of NYPD headquarters said they would like the City Council to revisit the issue of the NYPD role in schools now that the council’s Student Safety Act is is in effect. (more…)
December 1, 2011
Nilesh Wishwasrao, a former student at Flushing High School, said he’s been suspended from school so many times that he finally lost count.
“Their first reaction was always a suspension,” Wishwasrao recalled Wednesday at a City Council hearing about the Department of Education’s suspension data released last month.
Wishwasrao said he was suspended “constantly” for what he said were small infractions, such as chewing gum and wearing a hat in school. Sometimes he was more disruptive, “talking back to a teacher, yelling at a dean.”
Finally, Wishwasrao testified, a guidance counselor met with his father to explain that high school probably wasn’t right for him and “it would be better if I get a GED rather than a high school diploma.”
Wishwasrao never graduated and is now pursuing his GED.
Wishwasrao was part of a chorus of criticism from students and advocates who testified at the hearing, held by the City Council’s education committee. Their testimonies came directly after DOE officials shed more light on suspensions in the city schools and promised changes to how some suspensions are handled.
At least 45,939 students — or 4.5 percent of the city’s student population — were suspended during the 2010-2011 school year, Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm said in her testimony. The majority of them — 70 percent — were suspended just once, she said, but more than one in 10 — about 6,000 students — were suspended three or more times. (more…)
November 28, 2011
New York City police officers arrested or ticketed an average of four students per day in schools over a four-month period this summer and fall.
The statistic comes from New York Police Department data released today under the terms of a new city law that requires the Department of Education and NYPD to disclose information about arrests and suspensions that take place in schools.
A total of 63 arrests – one fifth of them for felonies – were made and 182 summonses issued in city schools over a span of 50 school days between July and September, according to the data, which the New York Civil Liberties Union published on its website. Most of the quarterly reporting period took place during the summer session, when enrollment is just 10 percent of the school-year total. Arrest totals are likely to be much higher when school is in session full time.
More than a third of the students arrested — 22 — were charged with assault, and more than half of summonses issued were for disorderly conduct. Riding a bike on the sidewalk was the second most common reason cited when issuing a summons, which typically requires a student to take time off of school to appear in court.
More than 80 percent of students arrested were male and 44 percent were younger than 16. All but four of the students arrested were black or Latino. (more…)
November 3, 2011
The release of school-by-school suspension tallies earlier this week was a triumph to advocates who spent years pushing the city to make school safety data transparent.
But it was only a partial win. That’s because the New York Police Department is also required to release school safety numbers under the terms of the Student Safety Act, which the City Council passed nearly a year ago.
The NYPD was supposed to report data about summons and arrests made by school safety agents and about non-criminal incidents in school buildings twice already, in August and again this week. But so far it has released no data.
When the police department missed the first deadline, officials said they were moving slowly to ensure accuracy with the complicated data, the Daily News reported at the time. Today, Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said the department would release the data “after the [computer] programming is completed and the data is carefully tabulated and checked in such a way to insure complete, accurate and reliable reporting to the City Council.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which was instrumental in convincing council members to pass the Student Safety Act, is pushing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to pick up the pace. Today, the NYCLU sent Kelly a letter today expressing concern about the “unreasonable delay” in releasing the data, noting that the DOE met its reporting deadline despite having to collect similarly complex numbers. (more…)
November 1, 2011
Principals and superintendents suspended a disproportionally high number of black and special needs students last year, according to data the Department of Education released today to comply with a new law.
Of the 73,441 suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year, more than 50 percent were black and thirty percent had individualized education plans, according to the data. In contrast, black students make up 33 percent of city enrollment and students requiring special education services make up 17 percent.
“These are outrageous numbers,” said Udi Ofer, Advocacy Director for New York Civil Liberties Union, a group that has closely followed suspension data for more than a decade. “It shows a policy and practice that has a grossly disproportionate impact on black and special needs children.”
It is the first time that the DOE is providing disaggregated data about student suspensions to the public under the Student Safety Act, which City Council passed last year after years of lobbying by NYCLU and other advocacy groups. In previous years, the DOE has only been required to release overall suspensions under state law. (more…)
January 27, 2011
New York City’s public schools are suspending more students than they did a decade ago, and for longer periods of time, according to a report released today.
Data on student suspensions obtained by the Student Safety Coalition through Freedom of Information requests and analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that the city’s public schools have doled out increasingly large numbers of suspensions each year since 2002. Black students are being suspended in disproportionate numbers, and a third of the suspensions have taken place during months when students spend weeks sitting for state exams. (more…)
December 20, 2010
More than two years after the legislation was originally introduced, City Council members today unanimously passed a bill that will change the way the city reports safety incidents in schools.
The Student Safety Act requires the Department of Education and New York City Police Department to report arrests, suspensions, and expulsion data four times a year and mandates that the city include a breakdown of students’ race, gender, age and status as special education students or English language learners.
Advocates including the New York Civil Liberties Union have long complained that the city’s school safety officers are too aggressive and too often intervene in disciplinary actions best left to administrators. The advocates argue that the legislation will allow parents to better understand how often school safety officers are involved in incidents and with which students.
The bill was originally introduced in 2008 by Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson, but got lost amid the debate over extending term limits and has laid mostly dormant since then.
One provision in the bill’s original language that was not included in the final version passed today involves beefing up the role of the the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates complaints against New York City police officers. The board does not currently review incidents in schools, though NYCLU advocates said they will continue to push for the city to widen the Board’s jurisdiction. (more…)
November 10, 2009
Rallying before a City Council hearing today on a more than year-old school safety proposal, advocates renewed their call for a law that would force the city to issue quarterly reports on school violence.
Introduced in 2008 by Robert Jackson, chairman of the City Council education committee, the School Safety Act has the support of 33 of the Council’s 50 members as well as advocacy groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union. Lost amid the debate over term limits last year, the act has seen little movement in the Council.
The act would require the Department of Education and Police Department to report arrests, suspensions, and expulsion data on a quarterly basis, along with a demographic breakdown of the students involved in school incidents. (more…)
July 8, 2009
Many city schools rely on metal detectors, security guards, and zero-tolerance policies to keep discipline under control. They don’t have to, according to a new report about alternate strategies to keep schools safe.
The report, produced by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, highlights six city high schools that stop problems before they start, help students resolve their own disputes, and keep police out of all but the most serious incidents. The schools range in size and how students are admitted, but they all post higher-than-average graduation rates, the report says.
“There is no cookie-cutter solution” to replicating the gentler approach to discipline, said NYCLU policy director Udi Ofer at a press conference today. But he said getting rid of metal detectors, currently in place at about 130 city schools, is a good place to start. (more…)
June 29, 2009
The mayor and chancellor say a post-mayoral control world would be fraught with litigation. But it’s not clear who would be filing the lawsuits.
Some of the most obvious potential litigants said today that as long as Mayor Bloomberg follows the new law, they want to stay out of court. They say they will trust that Mayor Bloomberg plans to respect the current law’s expiration if a new city school board is convened on Wednesday. That board would have only two mayoral appointees.
“If the mayor acts in good faith on that measure, at least changing the structure on top, then I think its wrong to foresee any potential litigation,” said Udi Ofer, the policy director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which has been agnostic on the principle of mayoral control.
But a DOE official said the city is worried most about litigation coming not from good-government groups but from individual teachers, principals, and vendors with gripes against the system.
“Every decision has a winner and a loser, and a loser would argue that the person who made the decision didn’t have the authority to do it,” the official said. For example, a teacher who was fired could argue that the principal who initiated his termination was not legally appointed, the official suggested. (more…)