Report: Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools (2009)

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Make the Road New York today released a report documenting the successes of six New York City public high schools in maintaining safe, nurturing educational environments without using metal detectors, aggressive policing and harsh disciplinary policies—measures widely employed in city schools.

Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools explores the approaches to security and discipline favored by these six successful schools, which serve “at-risk” student populations, similar to schools with some of the harshest discipline policies. It concludes with practical recommendations to help replicate these success stories in schools throughout the city.

The report is based on a one-year quantitative and qualitative study of six high schools: Progress High School for Professional Careers (Brooklyn), Urban Assembly for Careers in Sports (Bronx), Humanities Preparatory Academy (Manhattan), Urban Academy and Vanguard High School – both located in the Julia Richman Education Complex (Manhattan), and Lehman High School (Bronx).

None of these schools currently has metal detectors, although some used the devices in the past. Each employs alternative strategies to intervene with troubled students, and they generally enjoy long-term, positive relationships with school safety agents, NYPD civilian personnel assigned to patrol the schools.

The schools profiled in the report demonstrate their success through improved attendance, student retention and graduation rates, as well as dramatically fewer criminal and non-criminal incidents and school suspensions than schools equipped with permanent metal detectors.

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