The Relationship between the NYPD and Marginalized Students

The following section is a continuation of the previous series of columns concerning the NYPD’s occupancy in public schools. The two topics to be discussed: the relationship between the NYPD and nonwhite students and the supporters of this form of institutionalized racism. 

The influence of the NYPD on marginalized populations of students, unsurprisingly, is a reflection of the dynamic between minorities and police all across the United States. It has been proven through statistical data collections that Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be harassed, questioned and even arrested by police. According to a survey conducted by the ACLU, Black girls are four times more likely to be arrested by school police officers than white girls. This data is reflected similarly among Black and white men. The majority of Black or Hispanic schools are more likely to have higher policing on campus as opposed to predominantly white institutions, according to a 2018 report from the Urban Institute.

To truly understand the disproportionate impact of policing in schools on marginalized groups of children, the school-to-prison pipeline must be examined. This phenomenon describes how policing in NYC middle schools and high schools introduce minority students to the prison system. All New York City public schools have established a zero-tolerance policy, which allows police authorities to be involved in minor disputes. As a result of this involvement, a staggering number of students have been placed under arrest and given juvenile detention referrals. The city continues to increase NYPD funding in schools known as “permanent metal detector schools.” 82% of the children in these schools are Black or Latinx. These schools remain in poor communities without adequate educational funding. Meanwhile, the NYPD continues to grow its forces in these schools. According to the NYCLU, “The city spent an average of $9,602 on each student at a school with permanent metal detectors, compared to the citywide average of $11,282 per student.” However, the NYPD’s budget has increased by 65% (221 million dollars) since 2002. Additionally, it has been reported by the NYCLU that 77% of, “incidents involving permanent metal detector schools are non-criminal.” The lack of proper educational funding and resources, over-policing of schools, and the criminalization of students create an environment with a much higher likelihood of introducing students to the prison system. 

Who Supports the NYPD in Schools and Why 

Though the vast majority of officials, teachers, members of the Department of Education (DOE) and students agree that policing in schools is inefficient, there are still some who believe the NYPD is an essential operation in city schools. The goal of initiating the NYPD into school systems was to enforce safety measures and adequate school behavior. During the Bloomberg administration, when the DOE agreed to allow the NYPD to be the sole enforcers of school safety, the administration believed this to be the best way to enforce safety rules. This memorandum of agreement between the DOE and NYPD was set to expire in 2002 but was renewed by the Mayor and the School’s Chancellor Joel Klein in 2003. The reason for this renewal was vague, but it can be assumed that the Chancellor and Mayor deemed the NYPD presence necessary to maintain order. However, the statistics on crime in schools, as reported by the NYC OpenData, proves that, while crime has decreased mildly since 1998, there has been no overwhelmingly convincing data to reflect the work of the NYPD. According to ChalkBeat, there have been many studies that have tried to determine whether policing in school makes them safer; however, they provided “no clear verdict on whether police reduce in-school crime or major conflict.” There is no clear answer as to why the NYPD is still such a large part of the education system when there is such a large pushback from the public. 

The above segments serve to highlight the unhealthy relationship between the NYPD and marginalized individuals. Additionally, the support for the NYPD continues despite the overwhelmingly negative impact on students. Next week’s section will focus specifically on the NYPD’s budget (a continuation of the exploration of monetary support) and the proposed ways in which the NYPD can be eliminated from public schools, and funds reallocated, without an increase in crime.