News, commentary and analysis by leaders of the Communist Party USA in New York State. We discuss State politics and issues in New York City, covering developments in labor, civil rights education, housing and more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Principal's Arrest Highlights Problem of School Police

Yesterday's arrest of a New York City high school principal and his 17-year-old student is just the latest of incidents involving "school safety officers" in City schools. The school security officers are managed by the city's police department and not the Department of Education, and have a history of excessive force, arbitrariness, and focus on punitive measures instead of problem-solving.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) published a report on the behavior of the school safety officers and their many misdeeds, titled "Criminalizing the Classroom: The Overpolicing of New York City Schools." They also point to policy solutions such as returning school safety to the control of the Department of Ed, not the NYPD.

The firing of a popular mentor and counselor at the Community School for Social Justice in the Bronx in May 2007 also showed the vindictive attitude of the school cops. He was barred from the school after bringing observers from the NYCLU to witness the use of metal detectors in his school. Teachers and administrators who have stood up to or tried to protect students from abuse have been, arrested, beaten or even threatened.

It's time for comprehensive reform of New York City's education safety policies and practices, beginning with putting school safety back in the hands of educators.

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