By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Udi Ofer of the NYCLU adds: "Today more than ever, children are much more likely to be arrested for a minor disciplinary problem that a generation ago would never have been treated as a criminal offense. What used to be a trip to the principal's office is now a trip to the local police precinct."
I went to a very tough public high school—Boston Latin—that wasn't only academically tough: There so many ways to violate its code of conduct that each entering class saw a few of its members expelled through the years. But in all my time there, I never once saw a cop in the school, or the equivalent of a School Safety Agent. If the Boston police commissioner had sent one in, the intruder would have been ejected by the principal.
Next week, as a public service, I will reprint selected sections from the NYCLU's pocket-sized guide, "Know Your Rights With Police in Schools." In the fall of last year, 20,000 copies of this students' Bill of Rights were distributed by volunteers and snapped up by students. More will be distributed this fall.
But a good many students haven't yet seen this booklet, with detailed questions and answers such as "What to Do After a Conflict With a School Safety Agent" and "Can School Safety Agents Legally Search Me?" One question I would add: "Is There a Copy of the Constitution Somewhere in the School?"