NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Recent police-involved shootings has prompted a New York City high school to take action and teach its students how to deal with police.
As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported, when it comes to NYPD arrests, many teens feel afraid and don’t know what to expect.
“They feel there’s been a lot of tension,” said student Melissa Lopez-Garcia, of Inwood.
Lopez-Garcia said a few of her classmates at East Side Community High School continue to speak out on their experiences with police.
“I feel like some of them might possibly not trust police,” she said.
So the principal at the school stepped in and brought in the New York Civil Liberties Union, Gold reported.
“You have to be cooperative and avoid escalating the situation,” said Donna Lieberman, with the NYCLU.
And that’s exactly what the organization explained to 450 students during a recent presentation as they handed out pamphlets on what to do if an officer stops you.
“I feel like if I respect police, they will respect me back,” said Lopez-Garcia.
The NYCLU also talked to students about their rights and how to handle situations if they feel their rights are being violated, Gold reported.
“You may have to cooperate with an officer if you feel they’re harassing you, but you can file a complaint later on,” Lieberman explained.
CBS2 reached out to the Patrol Officers Union regarding the presentation.
The president said he did not see it, but gave a statement saying “We hope it includes information about the hundreds of police officers who have sacrificed their lives to get guns and drugs off our streets.”
Criminal justice experts said the presentation is a positive measure that will help students build better relationships with police.
“Students need information about how to deal with unusual circumstances,” said Robert McCree, criminal justice professor at John Jay College.
“I think they learned how they should have a little more trust with police,” Lopez-Garcia said.
And according to the students, the lesson works, Gold reported.
The principal of East Side Community said he reached out to the NYPD, and wanted to emphasize he’s not trying to criticize police or their practices, but wants to build trust between them and students.
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