The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has written to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein complaining about the over-policing of the schools and its adverse impact upon the educational environment within schools. The NYCLU letter The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has written to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein complaining about the over-policing of the schools and its adverse impact upon the educational environment within schools. The NYCLU letter complains about overreaching by some school safety agents assigned to schools and the failure of the City to develop rules limiting the authority of these police officers in the schools. The NYCLU letter urges that, in the absence of imminent threats to public safety, school principals must retain the authority to decide how school safety agents should conduct themselves within the schools.
The letter notes that the NYCLU has received an increasingly number of complaints as a result of the recent expansion of a program involving the use of metal detectors in the schools. It calls upon City officials to initiate an educational impact study of the effect of the metal detector program on issues such as the amount of class time lost by virtue of this program and the degree to which this program adversely affects the educational environment in schools.
The letter observes that the "over-policing" of the schools creates a fortress-like atmosphere in the schools and one that is incompatible with the idea of the school as a nurturing environment conducive to learning, student dignity and academic growth. In this respect, the letter supports the petitioning campaign undertaken by the student group, the Urban Youth Collaborative, in which the students seek "safety with dignity."
The letter further notes that "of course ... the Department of Education has a responsibility to ensure a safe and secure environment where children can learn. But, there needs to be an appropriate balance between security and the dignity rights of individuals -- especially in our schools." The letter calls upon City officials to restore a proper balance.
Click here to read the NYCLU's letter (requires the free Adobe Reader).