Posts tagged "student safety act"
November 16, 2012
The number of suspensions that principals and superintendents handed out to students is down in the second year since the Department of Education was required to report the data publicly, but it’s still much higher than it was a decade ago.
City schools gave out 69,643 suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year, down from 73,441 in 2010-2011. As was the case last year, the vast majority of suspensions were principal suspensions, meaning students were not allowed to attend school for between one and five days. The number of principal suspensions declined slightly, from 58,386 to 56,385. The decline in the stricter superintendent suspensions was even more significant—those dropped from 15,055 in 2011 to 13,258 in 2012.
The data shows that a decline in suspensions preceded the department’s move to soften the discipline code by making fewer offenses grounds for suspension. Officials attributed the declines to efforts to reduce the penalties for minor behavioral problems and introduce more student-teacher conferences as alternatives to suspension.
“Many schools now are using conflict resolution and peer mediation, which has helped to address issues in a timely fashion,” said department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg. “We started implementing more and more training for these programs prior to 2012.” (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
January 20, 2010
Stepping up its campaign against excessive policing in city schools, the New York Civil Liberties Union today sued the city on behalf of students who say they’ve been victims of overaggressive school safety officers.
The abuses alleged in the 56-page complaint filed in federal court today “shock the conscience,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman at a press conference this morning. The NYCLU charges that school safety officers threatened, intimidated, handcuffed, and assaulted students whose only offenses included writing on a desk or being late for class.
The NYCLU has sued the city before about single cases of abuse by school safety agents, who are overseen by the police department rather than the Department of Education. In November, the city agreed to pay $55,000 to a student who said he was assaulted by a safety agent at Robert F. Kennedy High School in Queens. Today’s suit is different because it seeks to represent all city students and because it aims to establish that the city’s official school discipline policies violate students’ civil rights. (more…)
December 8, 2008
The New York Civil Liberties Union has spent the last few years arguing that police officers are too aggressive in public schools. Today, it is spotlighting a Queens high school where a 16-year-old says police beat him so forcefully that he had to have surgery. Other students at the school also say they have been assaulted by safety agents.
Yesterday, NYCLU sent a letter to Chancellor Klein and police commissioner Ray Kelly calling on them to investigate the allegations of abuse. At a press conference this afternoon, at Hillcrest High School in Queens, they will make this demand publicly, and will also call on the City Council to pass the Student Safety Act, which would increase oversight of the more than 5,000 safety agents in city schools.
NYCLU’s letter, obtained by GothamSchools, says the school’s administration has not responded to complaints about alleged abuse:
It is our understanding that several students and at least one community organization have approached the school’s administration about these reports in hopes of remedying the situation. These attempts have been fruitless, according to the organization, as the administration has turned a deaf ear to these concerns.
Just a few weeks ago, a student at Robert F. Kennedy High School in Queens filed a lawsuit alleging that a school safety agent there kicked open a restroom stall door, injuring him. NYCLU has filed a complaint with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau on his behalf.
A Department of Education spokesperson said she cannot comment on pending litigation.
November 21, 2008
With time running out in this legislative cycle, students and advocates are increasing pressure on the City Council to hold hearings and vote on the Student Safety Act. The bill, which has been waiting in the City Council for months, and has 26 councilmembers signed on as co-sponsors, would increase transparency and accountability for School Safety Agents. If no action is taken by January, it will have to be reintroduced to the City Council.
The Student Safety Coalition, made up of community organizations from around the city, is organizing a rally at City Hall on Sunday to call for hearings and a vote. Organizers told me that city youth feel betrayed that for months council members have claimed to be too busy to hold hearings on the Student Safety Act, but were able to act to extend term limits in a matter of days.
In addition to organizing the rally, activists have set up a web page allowing the public to send a letter to the City Council in support of the act.
October 9, 2008
Here’s the New York Civil Liberties Union’s (NYCLU) analysis of over 300 arrests that it charges took place illegally in city schools between 2005-07. Minor infractions, such as those listed in the table, should be handled by educators within schools, NYCLU and other advocates argue, but instead, students are treated arrested, stigmatizing them as criminals. NYCLU believes that this is part of a larger pattern of pushing out rather than supporting and educating students with chronic behavior problems.
As reported in the Daily News and Times today, NYCLU sent a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, urging him to “immediately issue a directive informing all NYPD personnel in public schools of the prohibitions set forth in Section 305.2 of the Family Court Act, and that you take steps to ensure enforcement of this provision.”
NYCLU supports the Student Safety Act, which would require more transparency in reporting school safety incidents and would provide a grievance process for students who believe they were treated inappropriately by school safety agents.