ften when we hear that a black child has been arrested for throwing a tantrum in school, that school is in the South. In fact, Florida seems to love to produce those types of stories. But it’s probably happening in New York City a lot more than you think. That’s one of the most disturbing conclusions in a new report released yesterday by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY about the racial disparities in arrest rates in NYC schools.
The report analyzes arrests made by NYPD School Safety Division personnel during the 2011-12 school year, using data from the NYPD. The data does not provide a narrative account of each incident, so NYCLU can’t determine exactly how often students who are arrested could just as easily have received in-school detention. But they know something fishy is going on inside the schools for three reasons.
- “Disorderly conduct charges, a catchall category that can encompass all kinds of typical misbehavior, accounted for 64 percent of all summonses issued over the year, which indicates that NYPD officers are getting involved in non-criminal disciplinary incidents in schools,” a NYCLU press release says. Disorderly conduct includes things like writing on desks and engaging in horseplay, the press release says.
- Sixty-three percent of arrests were of black students. And 32 percent were Latino.
- “There are more than 5,100 police personnel in our schools, compared to approximately 3,000 guidance counselors and 1,500 social workers,” a NYCLU press release says.
Even if you are a conservative and want to give the police the benefit of the doubt, you should learn about how other school systems are handling dubious disorderly conduct arrests, before you dismiss NYCLU’s report. The press release says: