Feb. 1, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Dozens of candidates running for city council have pledged to remove the NYPD from public schools.
Approximately 70 candidates, including 22 from Queens, have signed on to a pledge where they would call for the NYPD to be barred from schools if elected. Furthermore, they would also seek to remove metal detectors from school buildings and have outside groups help students will mental health issues.
The pledge was created by Urban Youth Collaborative, a student-led youth advocacy group that calls for education reform in New York City public schools.
“The presence of police, surveillance, and invasive security measures pushes our most vulnerable students further to the margins,” the pledge reads. The group notes that black and Latinx students have suffered the most under the current system.
“After decades of criminalizing and policing young people in every space we occupy, we are demanding police free schools now and forever,” the pledge reads.
At present, there are more than 5,000 NYPD safety agents performing security duties at public schools and last year – at the height of racial justice protests – the mayor gave assurances that school security would be transferred over time from the NYPD to the Dept. of Education.
However, signatories say the mayor’s assurances don’t go far enough. They are demanding that the NYPD be removed from schools as soon as possible.
Instead, they want school safety to be placed in the hands of guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, restorative justice coordinators as well as academic and social support staff.
The signatories are also calling for an end to all zero-tolerance disciplinary policies at schools which often lead to students being suspended or expelled for minor disciplinary offenses.
In its place, “restorative practices” would be implemented at all schools by 2022. The practice often involves the victim and the offender meeting and reconciling with one another.
The signatories also want more funding for mental health support at schools.