NYPD officers to remain in schools despite calls for district to cut ties with police

“This is a situation where we have to think about the reality of safety and what each agency knows how to do"

Shant Shahrigian
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — NYPD officers will remain in public schools, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday, following a letter from Education Department staff calling on school officials to cut ties with the force.

“School safety as it’s currently configured has done a lot to reduce crime and violence in our schools,” he said at a press conference. “This is a situation where we have to think about the reality of safety and what each agency knows how to do.

Last week, dozens of Education Department staffers called for their agency to assume responsibility for school safety and to retrain officers with “a focus on de-escalation, mediation and restorative practices.”

Under the status quo, the NYPD maintains school safety agents at schools citywide, though critics have long argued the system treats students as criminals and disproportionately harms youth of color.

While de Blasio last year rejected an advisory group’s suggestion to study the NYPD’s role in school safety, he said Wednesday a task force will take up the issue.

“I personally believe that the better approach is to continue what we have, but improve it,” he said. “I know that the task force is looking at a whole range of issues ... about what is better handled by civilians and what is handled best by the Police Department.”

The comments came as de Blasio has taken steps to change policing in the wake of heated protests sparked by the death of Minnesota man George Floyd at the hands of a cop, though critics say he has not gone far enough.

Last week, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said he welcomed the letter from Education Department staff, claiming, “I share that vision.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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