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The Criminalization of NYC Students: 12 Years of Data on Police in Schools


Every New York student has the right to a safe, quality education. But far too often, students are kicked out of their classrooms, suspended, or even handcuffed and brought down to a police precinct. Students often face harsh punishment for minor misbehavior. This happens disproportionately to students of color, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged children. In 2022, for instance, nearly 90 percent of students arrested across New York City’s public schools were Black or Hispanic.

When schools use these types of traumatizing, aggressive disciplinary tactics to handle problems in the classroom, it doesn’t make anyone safer. It just puts more marginalized students in jail and sows distrust between students and adults.

Transparency is a crucial step to hold schools accountable for how they discipline students. That’s why the NYCLU has collected years of data on New York City’s overreliance on suspensions, arrests, and summonses of children in school.

We need schools that nurture students and help them learn from their mistakes so they can correct their misbehavior. This data helps underscore just how much schools instead rely on overly harsh punishments that keep students out of class and increase the chances they will drop out.

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Civil Liberties Union