De Blasio—Young People Demand Full Divestment from Police in Schools

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[Divestment\Defunding Police]
"We are Black and Brown young people who have led the fight to defund police in schools and invest in our priorities. We will continue that fight until all young people are free from the violent and racist policing system within our schools."
Photo: Sami Disu

Black and Brown NYC youth activists are calling for divestment of policing in schools.

Following yesterday's protests, Mayor de Blasio announced that he would “move resources from the NYPD to youth and social services as part of our City’s budget,” and failing to provide any details as to the scope of that change, the Urban Youth Collaborative issued the following statement:

"As Black and Brown young people, we want to make clear that we will not settle for minor reforms, pennies shifting between departments, or just reorganizing the police state into another department. The city must act to fully defund police in schools and invest in restorative practices, mental health supports, and counselors.

"We are Black and Brown young people who have led the fight to defund police in schools and invest in our priorities. We will continue that fight until all young people are free from the violent and racist policing system within our schools. The current proposed budget estimates that the School Safety Division will cost $427,357,272 with more going towards surveillance. Last school year, 90 percent of all students arrested in schools were Black or Latinx, a statistic that has remained true into the current year. If Mayor de Blasio truly believes, as he said, that 'our young people need to be reached, not policed,' then he must permanently end the School Safety Division, halt all arrests, summonses and juvenile reports in schools, stop using police personnel to respond to mental health crises in schools, and end invasive surveillance of young people. We hope these are the specifics he will announce soon."

Background:

For years, we have released reports, hosted press conferences and spoken to the press, showed up at city council hearings, and we even traveled to Iowa to ask him about defunding police in schools. Despite the introduction of transparency and reporting policies we called for, the school policing budget has increased every time the budget was in his control. Every time. It has taken national uprisings all across the country for him to respond. We hope now, he will truly listen to our vision.

Our demands:

  • Remove police officers, metal detectors, and surveillance from schools
  • End arrests and summonses for non-criminal violations and misdemeanors
  • Create alternatives to arrests for felonies
  • Clear and expunge students’ discipline and criminal records

Divestment from school police means removal of all police personnel from schools, whether employed by the NYPD, the Department of Education, or any other agency. We do not want the NYPD School Safety Division to just be reorganized into another agency.

Invest in young people’s demands by providing deep investment for restorative justice practices, mental health support, counselors, and culturally relevant curriculum.

The Mayor must act quickly and boldly to reimagine safety in New York City. We demand police free schools and investments in our education.

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