New York City is set to follow many other districts and major cities’ similar programs!
There has been a new shift in New York City’s school system. New York City is taking a new approach by removing police officers within classrooms widely accepted by advocates.
According to The Guardian, about 5,000 New York City school safety agents (SSAs) will be transferred out of the New York police department into the Department of Education (DoE) in June 2022. The city’s school system is the biggest within the US.
Using Data collected by the DoE, the ACLU found referrals, suspensions, detentions, and arrests disproportionately affect students of color and disabled students. In some states, disabled students were 10 times likely to be arrested.
Also, Latino students were 1.3 times likely to be arrested than white students. Meanwhile, Black students were arrested 3 times compared to white students. Many advocates hope this new change will encourage resolving conflict through communication and collaboration instead of harsh punishments.
The New York City Department of Education’s deputy press secretary Nathaniel Styer assured that SSAs began training last spring, and other agents will undergo similar training. SSAs will train in Conflict resolution, mediation, restorative justice, and implicit bias are what trainees will undergo to provide better disciplinary actions for students.
“The goal of transitioning SSAs back to the DoE is specifically focused on ensuring that SSAs are deeply integrated into the school community, are aligned with the school’s social-emotional work, and are true partners of educators, parents, and students in ensuring the wellness of the entire community.”
Others may agree with the new transitions, but some view this as not being enough. A democratic socialist projected to win a seat on the city council, Tiffany Cabán, thinks SSAs or police officers should be removed altogether.
“The presence of school safety officers leads to the increased likelihood of arrest or upcharging children for minor problems into really serious legal issues. I can say this from the perspective of being a public defender in the past,” Cabán said. “We see it all the time. We say, ‘We just need to get police officers more training in mental health response.’ No, we need to make sure we have dedicated, skilled workers and not retrofit that job. There’s no place for that in a school.”
Whether against it or not, it’s good to see some change right? I mean we all have to start somewhere.