After years of debate, amendments and negotiations, the Student Safety Act is finally moving toward passage in the City Council. The Student Safety Act requires reporting on disciplinary actions taken against NYC public school students, by safety agents and the police. This legislation was first introduced in 2008 by Council Members Robert Jackson and Melissa Mark-Viverito in response to increasing allegations of misconduct by some school safety agents, and the effects that excessive discipline was having on young people. For example, middle school students have been arrested for scribbling on their desks, and a five-year-old was handcuffed and sent by police to a psychiatric ward after misbehaving in school.
Yesterday, Melissa joined the Speaker, Council Members and dozens of youth in rallying for the passage of this bill. It is currently passing the final hurdles of the legislative process and is expected to pass the City Council at Monday’s Stated Meeting. See below for video from yesterday’s rally:
Once this bill get signed into law, the Council will receive regular reports detailing:
- the number of students who are suspended, broken down by school, as well as indicators such as race, ethnicity, gender and age, as well as special education and English language learner status; and
- the number of arrests and summons issued in schools, including the charges that led to these arrests and summons and whether they were misdemeanors, felonies or violations. This data will also be broken down by the indicators mentioned above.
“I am very pleased that the Student Safety Act is headed toward passage by the City Council, after several years of advocacy and negotiations,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This bill will equip the Council and advocates with the information we need to ensure that DOE disciplinary policies and the actions of school safety agents are promoting not only the safety, but the dignity of our students. I thank Speaker Quinn and Council Member Jackson for their leadership on this issue, as well as all of the young people and advocates who have worked so hard for this important victory.”