Police interventions for emotionally distressed children on the rise in New York City public schools, analysis finds
Police interventions for emotionally distressed children on the rise in New York City public schools, analysis finds

Police interventions for emotionally distressed children on the rise in New York City public schools, analysis finds

An NYPD car in front of a Brooklyn public school in 2015. Police interventions for emotionally distressed students have tracked upwards over the past four years, a new analysis found. Spencer Platt / Getty Images Police interventions for children facing mental health crises at New York City public schools have increased, with Black students and students with disabilities disproportionately affected, according to a new analysis of city data from 2016 to 2020.

In a report released Thursday, Advocates for Children of New York analyzed more than 12,000 “child in crisis” incidents — a New York City Police Department label for instances in which a student in emotional distress is removed from class and then transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation. The analysis, an update to the nonprofit’s 2017 brief , found an upward trend in such police interventions over the past four years.

And, mirroring the 2017 report, the data showed stark racial divides: In the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, more than a quarter of police interventions involved Black boys, even though they account for only 13% of the public school population. Similarly, Black girls also were overrepresented, showing up in 20% of the interventions despite accounting for only 12% of enrollment. In 92% of cases where students were handcuffed, the student was Black or Latino, and all 33 children between the ages of 5 and 7 who were handcuffed during the last four years were students of color, according to the report.

“When you look at data like this, how can you deny that there is systemic racism?” said David Kirkland, executive director of the New York University Metro Center, who was not involved with the report.

That a 5-year-old child would be placed in handcuffs is “unconscionable,” said Kirkland. “If these kinds of punishments were heaped upon the backs of advantaged and privileged students, we wouldn’t tolerate it,” he added. “We would move towards common sense policy solutions, much like the recommendations offered [in the report].”

The report comes at a time of racial reckoning across the country, as some school districts have taken significant measures to address over-policing of students of color. The authors of the report are calling for an elimination of all police and police infrastructure from schools citywide.

They said the NYPD is ill-equipped to respond to students’ social, emotional and mental health needs. New York City currently employs about 5,300 officers as NYPD school safety agents. This number has increased about 65% since 1998, when, under Mayor Rudy Guiliani, control of school safety was transferred to the NYPD. In June 2020, the Mayor announced that by June 2022, the education department would regain control over the school safety agents.

Responding to the report, the education department […]

Continue reading the rest at ny.chalkbeat.org

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