New Data Shows Decrease in Arrests and Summonses in NYC Schools; Communities Demand Further Investments in Restorative Justice

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Contact: Shoshi Doza, Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY, 347-632-7315,
New York, NY- This morning Mayor de Blasio made a public announcement on school safety and named the 2016-2017 school year the “safest school year on record”. The Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY) has always called for ending racial discrimination in school discipline and policing and putting an end to the criminalization of young people in school. While the NYC Department of Education has made incremental progress in reducing the use of punitive discipline, the City has yet to ensure the accessibility of restorative practices and mental health supports equitably across all New York City schools.
Students of color continue to be criminalized for normal adaptive youthful behavior. While other school districts across the country have eliminated summonses and arrests for behavior common in schools, New York City continues to give students summonses for situations like refusing orders, writing on a wall, being unreasonably loud, fighting, and disorderly conduct. As recent reports by Advocates for Children and the New York Civil Liberties point out, 99% of all children who are handcuffed by the NYPD for an emotional crisis, or “child-in-crisis”, are Black and Latino.
It is 2017 and there is a fundamentally different system of discipline and policing in place for Black and Brown students compared to the one in place for their white peers. We must end police responses to student behavior in schools, pass meaningful policy reforms that allow for diversion and graduated response protocols, and end school-based summonses and handcuffing of students in emotional crisis. These hostile and traumatic policing practices almost exclusively target Black and Latinx students and contradict the City’s stated commitment to restorative practices and meaningful change.
DSC-NY is calling on the Mayor and the DOE to continue progress towards the goals outlined by the Mayor’s Leadership Team and meaningfully engage the community in any plan for pursuing transformative school safety. A true transformation will come from investing in resources for counselors in our schools rather than cops.
The DSC-NY coalition calls for citywide funding and implementation of positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve school climate, reduce conflict, and increase learning.  Members include: Advocates for Children of New York, Center for Community Alternatives, Children’s Defense Fund-New York, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Future of Tomorrow, Girls for Gender Equity, Make the Road New York, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee, Restorative Justice Initiative, Rockaway Youth Task Force, Sistas and Brothas United, Teachers Unite, The Sikh Coalition, Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change, Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), YAYA-Network, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and Youth Represent.