Black and Latinx students in New York public schools only make up 27% and 41% of the population, respectively. However, data shows that they represent 99% of students handcuffed by NYPD school safety agents in 2016.
The New York Civil Liberties Union found that 259 out of 262 “child in crisis” incidents involved Black or Latinx students, according to The New York Daily News.
To no surprise, handcuffing students in a place where they’re supposed to be safe has negative effects on their outlook. NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman told the Daily News that they go on to suffer both academically and emotionally as a result.
“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.
The NYLU also found that a number of complaints had been filed against NYPD school safety agents in 2016. There were officially 208 complaints, including 89 for use of force, 15 for abuse of authority, 17 for offensive language and 87 for discourtesy. Despite these numbers, however, the NYPD says they’re working to decrease the number of arrests.
“Crime in schools is at an all-time low,” said Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness. “We’re continuing to invest in and expand critical school climate and mental health initiatives.”