School Funding

Schools reopening need resources for students, not funding for police


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This fall, many students across the country are finally expecting to return to their school buildings for full-time in-person learning. It is a great relief for many children and parents. But given the unprecedented trauma we have just experienced, it is also a challenge for elected leaders as it is more important than ever that every school is a safe haven. For all students, and especially black and brown students, this means making schools police-free.

It is impossible to overstate the hardships that working families have experienced this year. New York City, where one of us is a candidate and the other in high school, is no exception. Hunger – and above all child hunger – has been projected to his highest point for decades during the pandemic. Many parents worked double and triple shifts to avoid eviction and homelessness. that of New York uneven broadband infrastructure meant that thousands of students did not (and still do not) have internet access at home, and the City failed to distribute work laptops to thousands more, making distance learning even more difficult. And, as always, black, brown, and immigrant neighborhoods have seen some of the most severe impacts of these hardships and failures – the same neighborhoods where essential workers work overtime to care for their neighbors while assuming not only the most COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates, but often the highest rates of unemployment and evictions, too much.

Young people have not escaped any of this suffering. As a youth leader and student in Brooklyn, Alex has played a huge role in helping their families through the crisis, as have many of their peers. So many of their classmates – many of whom come from working-class or low-income families – not only do their own schoolwork, but also manage distance education for younger siblings, take concerts. on weekends and even fill out requests for allowances. for tutors who do not speak English. These students are experiencing a pandemic with no chance of feeling the social and emotional comfort that can accompany in-person learning. They are in desperate need of additional support, whether through counseling, social work, or even tutoring. But that support is hard to come by if it even exists because, instead of paying for the resources and staff that actually help students grow and learn, New York City is spending almost $ 450 million on the school police.

Long before the pandemic hit, school policing in New York City was a massive waste of limited public funds and deeply damaging students of color in all five boroughs. Black and brown youth are arrested at extremely disproportionate rates compared to their white peers, subject to nearly 90% or more of all arrests in schools in recent years, according to NYPD Data. These are the same children of communities of color plagued by racist policing and the criminalization of poverty – communities where the police do not represent or advance security, but too often embody brutality, incarceration and even the state sponsored murder.

It is therefore not surprising that the school police do not make students safe. In a recent investigation of students across New York City, led by the Collaboration of urban youth, many more respondents said friends and teachers made them feel safe at school compared to those who said the same about police. In fact, almost a third had been the subject of an agent-targeted application based on their race, gender identity or sexual orientation. Similar experiences are frequently reported in cities across the country, from From Oregon to New Jersey to Nevada.

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