New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to decrease police presence in the city’s schools by limiting the situations in which law enforcement will be allowed to respond to matters that arise on school grounds.
Under de Blasio’s new policy, New York Police Department (NYPD) officers must avoid citing or arresting students “whenever possible” for so-called “low level” law violations such as disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, and vandalism.
Students can only be arrested on school grounds for offenses that occurred off school property in cases of sex offenses, felonies, and “crimes where there is an immediate risk of escape or where the perpetrator is apprehended in hot pursuit,” according to the policy.
The policy also limits the involvement of school safety agents – a group of approximately 5,000 unarmed NYPD agents who are assigned to area schools. In the event the safety agents need further assistance, they turn to uniformed NYPD officers.
Under the new rules, school staff members should refrain from notifying school safety agents regarding students who skip school, show up late, or are caught lying, smoking or gambling.
Under the new policy, students will have access to "restorative justice" and social-emotional learning programs.
School officials also plan to hire 85 clinical social workers to intervene with students as needed.
The costs of retraining school personnel and hiring the social workers is estimated to be between $16 million and $21 million per year.