By JAISAL NOOR and VIKTORIYA SYROV

Students face severe punishments, including suspension and arrest, for minor offenses like being late to class or writing on the desk.
Students face severe punishments, including suspension and arrest, for minor offenses like being late to class or writing on the desk. PHOTO: iStockPhoto

The police force in New York City schools is the fifth largest police force in the country, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), with 5,055 School Safety Officers. The more police in schools, the more likely kids are to be arrested and suspended. “And it’s mostly targeting students of color and students with special needs and students from struggling communities,” said Angela Jones, coordinator of the NYCLU School to Prison Pipeline Project.

Some New York City residents who are concerned about the growing numbers of police in schools are supporting the Student Safety Act, a bill that would require the police department and schools to show what kinds of violations students are being punished for in schools, as well as information regarding the students’ race, social status and disabilities.

Students, like 15-year-old Angelica Hernandez of West Bronx Academy, don’t enjoy the long waits as they line-up to go through the metal detectors every morning. In her speech at a rally supporting the Student Safety Act, Hernandez described one morning when she was late to class because she had to go through the metal detector over and over only to find that she “had been wearing too many bobbypins in my hair that day.”

“Catholic schools don’t have metal detectors, private schools don’t have a bunch of cameras and safety agents and they get through their tests just fine, so why can’t we?” said Hernandez.