Yesterday, hundreds of New York City students, including our Youth Power Project members, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge calling on the City Council for police free schools.
The march took place in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, in which Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks responded by calling for more police in schools and new scanners, despite the fact that school police there failed to keep students safe. Based on recent data released on school policing in NYC, Black and Latinx students make up 90% of school police incidents, yet only make up 66% of the population.
As our youth member Jocelyn Diaz Palafox shared with ABC News: “I’ve seen students get arrested. I’ve seen students have physical encounters with police officers, and even just witnessing these encounters has a negative toll on other students.”
Time and time again, students have shared how police presence escalates situations more than provide a sense of security. And yet, Mayor Adams’ proposed executive budget plans to allocate $400 million to school policing, including a plan to hundreds of new school police.
The Adams administration cannot continue to enable a hostile school-to-prison and deportation pipeline. “Having more cops in schools means more interactions with police, especially for Black and brown students, who are disproportionately targeted…Instead, we should be using resources for mental health support,” explained our youth member Alex Valera.
We’re counting on our elected officials in the City Council to invest in the care of our students—that means investing in school counselors, social workers and restorative justice coordinators.