Black, Latino Students Make Up Nearly All School Arrests

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

education, classroom, school, school supplies, class, teachers, students (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Black and Latino students made up more than 96 percent of the arrests by NYPD School Safety officers during the 2011-2012 school year, according to recent data released by the NYPD. But the New York Civil Liberties Union believes the numbers betray a "heavy-handed" approach to discipline, particularly in minority neighborhoods.

Over the course of the most recent school year, 882 arrests were made and 1,666 summonses were issued. Sixty three percent of the arrests involved black students.

Close to half the summonses were issued in the Bronx, although the borough accounts for just 21 percent of the city's middle and high school students.

"What we're seeing is that more kids are getting arrested for minor misbehavior that a generation ago would never have resulted in police involvement," said Udi Ofer, the New York Civil Liberties Union's advocacy director. He says this includes offenses such as writing on desks.

According to the NYCLU, police personnel outnumber guidance counselors and social workers at city schools. Ofer said the public spectacle of being handcuffed or taking a day off to go to court is more likely to prompt a downward spiral, rather than ending the student’s misbehavior.

"Getting arrested in school is one of the greatest indicators of dropout,"  he said.

The city Department of Education in a statement said crime in schools has gone down. "In the last 10 years, we’ve reduced major crimes committed in schools by 49 percent and violent crime by 45 percent, while still maintaining one of the lowest rates of school-based arrests for any major district in the country. School safety is important for our students’ success and it’s our goal to preserve a safe learning environment."


More in:

Comments [4]

JK from Brooklyn

Every year the NYCLU releases a similar report, implying that punitive, racist motivations are behind the disciplinary actions dolled out to students.
Other than the obvious demographic error in the statements citing 'percent disciplinary actions' (ie, in the vast majority of school districts of the city, there aren't sufficient white (or Asian) students to provide a statistically meaningful comparison), it's astonishing to see the elephant in the room being ignored yet again.
ALL students in school have the RIGHT to a full day's effective and uninterrupted teaching.
What is the NYCLU proposing, that the offender be permitted to destroy that day's lesson for the students in the class that want to learn?
The fact is that the most serious offenses, involving violent actions, have been cut in half by the Board of Ed over the last decade.
That sounds like a track of success.
If the tacit implication that blacks and hispanics are being 'singled out' for punishment (beyond their actions having deserved such actions), the burden of this proof is on the NYCLU and anyone else conspiratorially minded, not Board of Ed, not the City of NY.

Aug. 15 2012 12:46 PM
john from office

The majority of students are black and latino. Should we arrest some white kids for the hell of it??

How about some parenting at home, so the schools are not dealing with wild animals.

Aug. 15 2012 08:44 AM

Joy, do you work in the attendance office per chance?

Aug. 14 2012 10:03 PM

Ok so because these student's break the laws it's our fault they are downtrodden? The schools should be allowed to search the students, and the students should decide if learning is important to them to stay in school if not then they need to go. Drugs and violence need to be kept out of schools and student's who break the laws need to pay the price. These schools are funded by government tax payers.

Aug. 14 2012 09:41 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by