Advocates ripped the city for arresting and suspending students in a withering report that claims those policies cost the city millions each year.
“The $746 Million a Year School-to-Prison Pipeline” calls for fewer student suspensions and the removal of NYPD personnel and metal detectors from public schools. Produced by the non-profit Urban Youth Collaborative [of which Make the Road New York is a member] and Center for Popular Democracy, the 40-page document analyzed city budget data and academic research.
“The city has an opportunity here to reinvest some of these funds into supportive programs and opportunities for students,” said co-author Kate Terenzi, a Center for Popular Democracy fellow. “This is something that can really make a difference in the lives of young people.”
She and her co-authors arrived at the more than $746 million pricetag for arresting and suspending kids by tallying city budget data and estimating costs associated with students dropping out of school because of suspensions or arrests.
They counted the cost of putting cops in schools and running suspension programs at $397.6 million, using city budget figures and reporting from the Independent Budget office.
Then the study’s authors calculated another $349.1 million in costs from kids who dropped out because they were suspended or arrested.
Terenzi said a 2016 study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, found students who were suspended from school were 15% more likely to drop out compared with those who were never suspended. She said kids who are arrested at school are even less likely to graduate on time, citing a 2013 report published by the American Sociological Association.
Using UCLA’s estimate, Terenzi figures that at least 662 city students drop out each year because of arrests and suspensions. The UCLA study put the cost of each dropout at $527,695 in lower wages, lower tax revenue, and higher expenditures for health care and the criminal justice system.
Terenzi and about 50 protesters from the Urban Youth Collaborative and the Center for Popular Democracy plan unveil the report at a noon rally Monday at City Hall.
Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said the city spends $47 million a year on programs to improve school safety and to reduce arrests and suspensions.
“Crime in schools is at an all-time low, suspensions, school-based arrests and summonses are continuing to decline, and we are expanding critical school climate and mental health supports,” she said.
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