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9/7/10: Hundreds of Youth to Rally Against Unregulated Police in Schools and Urge Passage of Student Safety Act

Tuesday, September 7, 2010, the day before school starts in New York City, hundreds of students, parents and lawmakers will join the Student Safety Coalition in front of Tweed Hall to rally support for the Student Safety Act, legislation being considered by the City Council that will bring transparency and accountability to NYPD activity and Department of Education suspension practices in the city’s schools. Joining the group will be Alexa Gonzalez, a 12-year-old who was handcuffed and arrested in February for scribbling on her desk in erasable marker.

The Student Safety Act will require the NYPD and DOE to report quarterly to the City Council on the numbers of suspensions, expulsions and arrests in schools. Information will be broken down by students’ race, sex, disability and socioeconomic status. The council and public will be able to use this data to ensure that discipline is enforced equitably throughout the school system and develop better school safety policies.

Students will be rallying for safer schools that will allow them to graduate on time. With more than 5,200 uniformed officers, the NYPD’s School Safety Division is the nation’s fifth-largest police force – larger than the police forces in Washington D.C., Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego or Las Vegas. This massive and poorly regulated police presence has created a situation where students as young as five have been handcuffed, taken to jail or ordered to appear in court for infractions such as talking back, truancy or writing on their desks. All too often, these injustices occur in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.


  • Hundreds of youth and parents
  • Queens youth Alexa Gonzalez
  • Councilman Robert Jackson
  • Councilman Daniel Dromm
  • Speakers from Urban Youth Collaborative and Make the Road New York
  • NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman

The following organizations comprise the Student Safety Coalition:

Advocates for Children of New York; Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325; Bronx Defenders; Children’s Defense Fund – New York; Class Size Matters; Correctional Association of New York; CUNY Graduate Center Participatory Action Research Collective; DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving; Make the Road New York; NAACP-Legal Defense and Educational Fund; NAACP New York State Conference; National Economic and Social Rights Initiative; National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter; New York Civil Liberties Union; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Suspension Representation Project; Teachers Unite; Urban Youth Collaborative; Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

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