Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education. She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.
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.