Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers criminal justice, terrorism and the courts for WNYC. She found her way into public radio after practicing law for five years, and can definitely say that walking the streets of New York City with a microphone is a lot more fun than being holed up in the office writing letters to opposing counsel.
NYPD Misses Deadline to Provide City With School Crime Data
Sunday, September 04, 2011
The NYPD is more than a month late in providing the City Council data about public school student arrests and summons.
By law, police are required to disclose quarterly figures on arrests and summons at public schools — and to break down that data by students' age, grade, race, ethnicity, gender and any special education or English-language program enrollment.
The first set of data was due by the end of July — six months after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the Student Safety Act into law in January.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, helped advocate for the act's passage and said the figures are important to figuring out how police are spending their resources at schools.
She and other advocates have been concerned the most heavily policed schools have the most minority students. A greater police presence in schools doesn't always make for a safer environment, she said.
"Rather, it feels like a hostile environment in too many schools and for too many children, particularly children of color," Lieberman said. "There is actually no indication that crime has gone down as a result of police infusions in our schools."
Civil liberties groups report that police officers are over-aggressive in schools and often arrest students or issue them tickets for misconduct as trivial as writing on desks.
The NYPD helped negotiated details of the bill before its passage to accommodate for technological challenges in reporting the data.
The police declined to comment on why they are late in disclosing the data.
The Department of Education is also required to disclose data under the Student Safety Act. The department must provide information on suspensions on a biannual basis and student discipline on a yearly basis, all broken down by age, grade, race, ethnicity, gender and special education enrollment.