NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Calls to cut the NYPD‘s budget includes pressure to remove officers from schools.
Protesters are calling for school safety to be handled solely by the Department of Education, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
“The only time I felt unsafe going to school is like when I see myself, or my friends, or someone I went to class with being harassed by school safety agents,” one person said.
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Under normal circumstances, metal detectors greet many students as they arrive in the building, and the school safety officers can outnumber the staff tasked with providing supportive resources, raising the question about the city’s priorities.
“At my school there was only two guidance counselors for 600 students,” said Dejaun Wright, a graduate of Cobble Hill School of American Studies.
According to NYPD data, arrests drastically dropped from 2,200 in the 2013-14 school year to 882 in the 2018-19 school year.
Data also shows black students were disproportionately arrested or disciplined.
In a statement, the Department of Education said in part, “We fully acknowledge that there are still disparities, which is why we’ve invested in restorative practices, implicit bias training, and culturally responsive education.”
However, the district did not take a stand on whether it supports removing officers.
“The school safety agents are 90% black and brown, 70% women,” said Gregory Floyd, president of Local 237, which represents more than 5,000 school safety agents.
Floyd also cited the thousands of incidents officers address each year, including assaults, weapons, and drug possession.
“It’s stupidity to say get the school safety out of the buildings,” Floyd said. “They will quickly find out that the teachers will not be going to work. Neither will the students.”
All eyes are on the NYPD’s budget, as there has been a heightened scrutiny about how the police interact with black and brown communities.
And the City Council has only days to pass a budget that determines what reform will look like.