Since the NYPD took control of school safety in 1998, the number of police personnel in schools and the extent of their activity have skyrocketed. At the start of the 2005-2006 school year, the city employed a total of 4,625 School Safety Agents (SSAs) and at least 200 armed police officers assigned exclusively to schools.
This report, Criminalizing the Classroom: The Over-Policing of New York City Public Schools, offers the following recommendations for reforming New York City’s school policing program – all of which can be accomplished without any sacrifice to school safety:
- Authority over school safety must be restored to school administrators.
- School safety personnel must be trained to function in accordance with sound educational practices and to respect the differences between street and school environments.
- The role of police personnel in schools must be limited to legitimate security concerns for children and educators.
- Students, families and educators must be given meaningful mechanisms, including access to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, to report wrongdoing by school-based police personnel.
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