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Racial Disparity Seen In Use Of Handcuffs In Schools, NYCLU Study Says
NY DAILY NEWS, May 9, 2017
Black and Hispanic kids accounted for 99% of all public school students handcuffed by NYPD school safety agents in crisis incidents in 2016, data published Monday shows.
A “child in crisis” incident is one where a student displaying signs of emotional distress is removed from the classroom and taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.
In 2016, there were 262 child in crisis incidents where handcuffs were used, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which first reported the data — and all but three of those incidents, or 259, involved black or Latino children.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said kids who are subject to police action in school suffer academically and emotionally.
“When a child is handcuffed, the child is humiliated,” Lieberman said.
“It’s incompatible with the safe and supportive learning environment a school is supposed to provide,” Lieberman added.
Police and city school statistics show overall police actions in schools are declining.
But black and Hispanic kids, who account for about 27% and 41 % of all students, respectively, are still far more likely to find trouble with police compared to their peers.
Students said the situation is unfair.
“It’s racist,” said Manhattan Maker Academy sophomore Jennifer Gaspar, 15, who’s Hispanic. “It’s horrible we’re still going through things like this as a people. It shouldn’t be this way.”
The data reported Monday by the NYCLU is the first such release of school police data. The data set includes other information on police activity in city schools.
The statistics were published by the NYPD under amendments to the city’s Student Safety Act made in 2015 that require more transparency on police action in the public schools.
The NYCLU’s analysis of the data also showed that in 2016 there were 208 complaints made by civilians against school safety officers, including 89 for use of force, 15 for abuse of authority, 17 for offensive language and 87 for discourtesy.
An NYPD spokeswoman said police are working to reduce arrests at schools and restraints are only used in rare circumstances.
Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said the public schools receive $47 million annually for restorative discipline, staff training and crisis intervention.
“Crime in schools is at an all-time low,” Holness said. “We’re continuing to invest in and expand critical school climate and mental health initiatives.”