Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: Arrests In Schools a Sharp Reminder That Life Doesn't Stop at the Classroom Door
"NYC schools need better strategies to help deal with these challenges. We cannot arrest our way out of this crisis."
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has just released some startling numbers: five students are arrested on average each day in NYC public schools. In the three month period covered (October through December 2011), 93 percent of those arrested were black or Latino and 75 percent were male. While these numbers by themselves are disturbing, they mask the full extent of the challenge that we as a city face.
We all know children are complex, and they don't leave these complexities behind at the school door. This is true for all children, including those from impoverished backgrounds. For example, a child who is chronically absent because of untreated asthma will have great difficulty succeeding even in a world-class school. A young woman who has been in six foster homes in the last five years and is a mom herself may have trouble connecting with classmates or teachers. A teenage boy who does not have enough to eat may be unable to pay attention or become irritable during the school day.