Anna Phillips is a staff reporter at GothamSchools.
Five Students Arrested a Day, Police Data Show
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 03:03 PM
City school safety agents and police officers arrested an average of five public school students a day last fall, according to new data released by the New York Police Department.
The arrest numbers represent a significant increase over those released in November, covering the third-quarter period when few students were around during summer break and a fraction attended summer school.
During that period, school safety agents and officers, both part of the city Police Department, arrested 63 students and issued 182 summonses. But those figures swelled during the 55 school days between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, when 279 students were arrested and 532 were given summonses.
The Student Safety Act, a law passed by the City Council in 2010, requires the department to release statistics four times a year on student arrests, summonses and non-criminal incidents.
This is the second time the Police Department has complied with this requirement, which was born out of concern that safety agents and officers were acting too quickly to arrest students, some of whom are young and might have been disciplined another way.
On Wednesday, advocates like the New York Civil Liberties Union criticized the city for giving the Police Department too much control of school safety.
The latest figures show that about 19 percent of the students arrested while in school were between the ages of 11 and 14, though only three 11-year-olds and two 12-year-olds were arrested citywide. About 74 percent of the arrests were made of students between the ages of 15 and 18.
As was the case in the summer, the majority of the students arrested were black -- 60 percent -- though blacks make up roughly a third of the student body in city schools. More than half of the arrests were made in schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Police officers arrested students for a variety of offenses, from disorderly conduct to assault. Twenty-eight students were arrested and charged with bringing a weapon to school, and 62 were charged with third-degree assault.
According to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union, 63 percent of summonses were issued for disorderly conduct, which spans a wide range of behavior.
Across the city, 35 students were accused of resisting arrest.