Students demand to eliminate police presence in NYC schools and invest those funds in more support and counseling programs

The next June 30 deadline expires for the city council of the City of New York and the Administration of the Mayor Eric Adams approve the local budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, and students from different corners of the city joined this Wednesday in a massive demonstration to demand that no more be invested in police in the campuses.

With banners and all kinds of harangues, with which they ensured that the presence of thousands of police officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in much of the 1,700 schools of the Big Apple has made school campuses look like prisons, students called for the city budget to remove resources from police spending on campuses and reallocate more than $270 million in the hiring of more directors students and social workers.

The demonstration, which began next to the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office and the Municipal Council, then took to the street and advanced first to the headquarters of the City Department of Education (DOE) and concluded at the central headquarters of the NYPD.

“The matter is very simple. Police have no place our schoolsWell, what they do is intimidate us under the idea that they are protecting us, but they are not protecting us. Unlike, they are always harassing students and treating us like we are criminals, when schools are made to have learning environments, not as if they were prisons”, he assured Alex Mujica, student of the Academy for Software Engineering school in the Bronx.

The 17-year-old of Puerto Rican origin called on Mayor Adams and the Municipal Council to review the police policy in schools, but warned that it is not enough to remove the uniformed officers from school buildings, but warned that It is urgent to invest in emotional and mental health support programsl of students, as well as arts, sports, after-school projects, and promotion of talents and special needs.

“We need resources for mental health, physical health that many schools don’t have, and not more money for metal detectors or police officers, who every day when we arrive at school are yelling and intimidating students in a very aggressive way. It is not just removing the police but using that money in plans such as restorative justice“added the young man at the demonstration.

91% of arrestees are black and Latino

crystal kingsdirector of the organization United Brothers and Sistersdescribed as “inconceivable” that there are currently more police officers in schools than student counselors, which after the COVID-19 pandemic they are needed more than ever to help children deal with the traumas that the last two years have left on them.

“Many of the students are being pushed out of schools, because they do not have services or resources to receive support from social workers or mental health counselors,” said the activist. “Many students need someone to talk to after the pandemic and the first thing they find every time they enter schools are police officers who bother them and they are not trained to do that jobso they just choose to arrest the students or give them tickets.”

Reyes warned that it is clear that police surveillance in schools has discriminatory overtones, as he assured that although black and Latino students are only 66% of the school population, 91% of campus arrests occur among these groups.

“Mayor Adams wants to continue paying for those police positions in schools when he should eliminate them, because right now there are the funds to have at least 5,000 police officers and there are only resources for 2,000 counselors and social workers“added the activist, criticizing that the Mayor’s preliminary budget included $400 million for school surveillance, which allows for the hiring of almost 1,000 more police officers.

jolie santiagoa 10th-grader at a Brooklyn school, went further, pointing out that the criminalization of Black and Latino students in New York’s public schools is only part of the way the City treats the most vulnerable groups.

Student protest against police presence in schools.

“We need no police in schools because it is clear that the police will never make us safer, when what they do is traumatize us. In addition, there is evidence that shows that the safest schools in the city are not those that have the most police, but rather those that have the most resources for their students.“said the young woman.

“But at the same time we need the City to invest in our people, in our communities, in not criminalizing street vendors, in guaranteeing that we can all ride the subway, in giving us jobs and improving conditions. That is what we need the budget to do,” added the Latina.

Submit a list of demands

In the middle of their demonstration, the students presented a list of demands that includes the approval of the budget for $120 million investment in restorative justice programs, $75 million to hire more school counselors and $75 million for social workers, that more than half a dozen councilors like Alexa Aviles, Chi Ossé, Sandy Nurse, Kristin Richardson, Shahana Hanif and Tiffany Cabán, signed.

“The call for the police to leave our schools is not a new story. We have been asking for the same thing for years and I am proud to see that young people are the ones who are leading what we are going to achieve today. Don’t give up, keep fighting because we are going to fight hard for this,” said Councilwoman Aviles, who insisted that schools are not safer because they have more uniforms but because they have more support programs.

the councilwoman Sandy Nurse of Brooklynalso promised to fight within the Municipal Council so that the demands of the students are heard.

“There should be no police in schools, we agree and I tell them that we are ready to support them in their demands, not only for more counselors and social workers for students but also for teachers, who need that support,” said the statement. legislator.

Christine Ramireza mother of two children in New York public schools, also joined the same clamor and lamented that the City has not made progress on the issue of school policing in decades.

“When I was studying there were already many policemen, and today things are still the same. My young children fearfully ask me why there are so many police in their schools, when what this Administration should do is invest in creating places free of police and filled with social workers and counselors with whom our children can talk about their problems and their dreams,” said the Latina mother.

No response from the city

After the demonstration, neither the Office of the President of the Municipal Council, adrienne adams not even Mayor Adams Administration they referred to the call to remove police officers from schools.

Johnatan Lalvae at the demonstration against police presence in schools

However, the head of the Council assured that she was committed to fighting for the expansion of mental health, counseling and restorative justice programs in schools, asking the Administration for an investment of $14 million to hire social workers and counselors in 100 schools, although the figure is far below what students are asking for.

“The City Council is committed to supporting the health and well-being of all students, particularly in light of the mental health impacts caused by the pandemic,” said a spokesman for the president of the legislative body.

“The Council’s Preliminary Budget Response includes significant investments in counseling and mental health services for our most vulnerable students, as well as an expansion of restorative justice programs to reach 250 schools in the next fiscal year and 500 schools by next fiscal year. next fiscal year,” he added.

La Uniforma talks about changes

The NYPD Police For his part, he highlighted that in recent years that agency has been implementing changes in its relations with the communities it serves, and although it did not specifically mention its work in schools, it defended its actions in the application of the law.

“Over the past eight years, the NYPD has been forging fundamental changes in policing, including building strong relationships through Neighborhood Watch and drastically reducing the level of law enforcement by concentrating resources on drivers of violence through Precision Policing,” an NYPD spokesperson said of complaints that its actions on campus have disproportionately criminalized Black and Latino students.

The NYPD responds to and addresses crime reports from the very communities it serves, focusing on areas with the highest concentrations of crime.. These communities not only deserve, but demand that police respond to reports of crime and arrest those responsible,” the NYPD added.

Demonstration of students against police presence in NYC schools

List of demands of the students to the Municipal Council:

  • $0 investment dollars for the division of police in schools.
  • $0 dollars to replace current police vacancies in schools.
  • $0 dollars for new existing scanners and surveillance equipment.
  • $120 million investment in restorative justice programs.
  • $75 million to hire more school counselors.
  • $75 million to hire more social workers.
  • $400 million in police spending on schools is proposed by Mayor Adams in his budget.
  • $14 million 100 thousand proposed by the City Council in hiring more school counselors.