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Resist the Criminalization of Youth: Schools Not Jails

Remember all those emails from Teachers Unite about surveys and focus groups? On October 22nd, Teachers Unite and NESRI (National Economic and Social Rights Initiative) will release the findings of our research at a launch event for educators and advocates.

Our report, based on the responses from over 300 teachers, shares educators’ insights into what makes schools safe. With these findings, we intend to build support for concrete policy reform in the City Council and Department of Education that promotes school safety with dignity and guarantees every students’ human right to education.

In New York City public schools that serve low-income students of color, discipline and safety polices are often distorted to create hostile environments and exclude students from the classroom through excessive
suspensions and unjustified arrests. Police and safety agents patrol hallways and apply criminalizing tactics to non-criminal behavior, including handcuffing students for shouting in hallways and arresting students for
altercations that were once dealt with by school staff.

It is time for educators and advocates to work together and create safe learning environments that empower students and teachers and recognize their fundamental rights to participate in decision-making around school policy. We are proud to share our report on October 22nd, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

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