Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
Students Sue NYC Over Mistreatment
Thursday, January 21, 2010
New York, NY —
The New York Civil Liberties Union has brought a federal class-action lawsuit against the city accusing school safety agents of violating students' rights. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.
REPORTER: The suit was filed on behalf of five middle and high school students who claim they were physically abused and wrongfully arrested at school. One of them is 13-year-old Daija, who attends the Lou Gehrig Middle School in the Bronx.
DAIJA: I have always liked school but earlier this year I was handcuffed and inappropriately handled by a school safety officer.
REPORTER: Daija is known by the initials DY in the court papers to protect her identity. The lawsuit claims safety agents are overly aggressive with students. It's seeking to give them better training and to give principals more control over school discipline. The Civil Liberties Union and the police department have tangled for years over these complaints. The NYPD calls the allegations hyperbole and the city's law department says it's reviewing the case, but that safety agents handle a difficult job with dedication and professionalism.