NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Numbers released by the New York Police Department show that about five public school students were arrested every school day during the last three months of 2011.

Civil liberties groups say the 279 student arrests from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 were excessive. Summonses were issued to another 532 students, largely for disorderly conduct.

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Outside 1 Police Plaza, teenage demonstrators chanted slogans and carried signs that read “Dignity For All Students” and “More Books, No Cops” on Wednesday, 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported.

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“You have wonder what is the number going to be for the whole school year and we need to ask ourselves ‘Is this school safety? Is this the NYPD showing us that they’re keeping us safe by arresting us and giving us court summons for the most minor things?” one student asked.

Most of those cited and arrested were black and Hispanic. Councilman Daniel Dromm calls the situation shocking.

“This is unacceptable. These numbers figures are totally out of line with what the Department of Education’s mission is,” he said.

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New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said Wednesday that too many schoolchildren are being treated as criminals. She says many of the infractions should have been handled by the school principals.

The City Council passed a law requiring the NYPD to release the school arrest statistics every three months. This is the second time the department has released the quarterly statistics.

In response to the controversy, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne released the following statement:

“The NYCLU talks about arrests in schools but, conveniently, not crimes. There were 801 felonies in the schools last year, compared to 1,577 in 2001 before the current administration took office.

Brown says the reduction was made “through the good work of dedicated school safety officers and police officers.”

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