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Harsh Police Measures in NY Schools Affect Academic Performance

El Diario/La Prensa, News Report, Manuel Avendao Posted: Jul 21, 2009

Editor's note: Translated from Spanish by Emily Leavitt, this story first appeared in New York Community Media Alliance's "Voices That Must Be Heard."

The presence of the police and the excessive use of metal detectors and security in city public schools is having a negative effect on students' academic performance, according to a study released recently by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and Make the Road New York.

The study focuses on six public high schools in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. These schools cumulatively had a nearly 62 percent graduation rate for the class of 2007 in comparison to the graduation rate of less than 55 percent at schools with metal detectors and harsh security measures. The study also shows that schools that got rid of metal detectors in the 2006-2007 academic year expelled 78 percent less students than schools that employed them.

Since Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made school safety a responsibility of the New York Police Department in 1998, the number of police personnel in public schools rose from 3,200 to 5,200. Hence, the presence of authoritative security personnel has clearly made a difference.

"There are more police in New York public schools than in the streets of many cities like Baltimore, Las Vegas, Boston and Washington, D.C.," the report points out.

However, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education [DOE], Marge Feinberg said to Education for Employment Foundation [EFE] that the results of the report were "not thorough enough," because the study is based on figures from 2007 instead of the recent statistics from 2008, which have been available since June.

Although some do not consider the reports findings very accurate, there is a clear and direct correlation with the presence of police officers transmitting a sense of fear and reduced academic performance. In an atmosphere screaming with danger, academic enrichment becomes secondary to personal security and survival.

Related Articles:

Complaints Against New York City Police Rising


NYC Latino Students Lag in Graduation Rates

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