Black and Hispanic Students Targeted Unfairly by School Cops, NYCLU Claims (UPDATE)


The NYPD took over school safety in 1998, and the New York Civil Liberties Union claims that cops have since abused their position, using their role to stop and frisk students.

Today, the NYCLU released what’s said to be the first study chronicling student arrest and summons data, and the results are pretty startling: During the last three months of 2011, an average of five students were arrested daily — 93.5 percent were black or Hispanic.

The vast majority of these schoolkids — 74.9 percent — were male.

Most of these arrests took place in the Bronx (28 percent), followed by Brooklyn (26.2 percent), Manhattan (19.7 percent), Queens (14.7 percent), and Staten Island (11.5 percent).

Of the 513,041 middle and high school pupils (and 22,888 special-education students) surveyed, the NYCLU noticed that nine summonses were given daily — 63 percent of which were for disorderly conduct.

“Michael Bloomberg’s administration is committed to targeting young men of color in policing, be it in the schools or on the streets,” Johanna Miller, NYCLU assistant advocacy director, told Runnin’ Scared. “This is stop-and-frisk in schools, and it’s targeting the same people.”

When the deal was originally brokered to bring cops into schools, educators and city officials agreed that the number of officers would not change, according to Miller.

Miller says that the number has ballooned from some 3,000 to around 5,200, however.

“If police have a role in schools, it’s not to enforce basic rules of conduct and discipline. If they’re there, it needs to be for basic security purposes,” Miller says.

“It needs to be to keep children safe, not to keep them behaving. Criminalizing school behavior and students’ mistakes does not result in good outcomes for kids. It’s making interactions between young men of color and police more fraught.”

UPDATE: “The NYCLU talks about arrests in schools but, conveniently, not crimes,” Paul Browne, NYPD spokesman, told Runnin’ Scared in an e-mail.

“There were 801 felonies in the schools last year, compared to 1,577 in 2001 before the current administration took office. That 50 percent reduction in serious crime was made through the good work of dedicated School Safety Officers and Police Officers. Schools are kept safe by their ongoing efforts.”

Stop-and-frisk — and NYPD’s treatment of minorities — have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. The NYCLU filed a lawsuit against the city for records on police patrols of private buildings, which overwhelmingly target minorities.

Councilman Jumaane Williams has demanded that Bloomberg hold cops accountable after a Bronx teen was shot and killed by cops at his grandmother’s home.

And in Frisky Business, the Voice‘s Graham Rayman recently reported that more than 36 stop-and-frisk lawsuits had been filed against the city since the beginning of 2012, meaning that New York could face some 400 lawsuits this year.

In 2010, the NYCLU filed a class-action lawsuit against the city challenging these practices. The case is in the preliminary stages.