Schools Are Safer Without Metal Detectors and Harsh Discipline

By Jorge Rivas Jul 09, 2009

The NYCLU, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and Make the Road New York have released a report arguing that schools can create a safer environment without metal detectors and harsh discipline. The report, "Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to Over-Policing Schools," is based on a one-year quantitative and qualitative study of six NYC high schools with "at-risk" student populations that do not use metal detectors. According to the report, these schools have improved attendance, better student retention and graduation rates, and have "dramatically fewer" criminal and non-criminal incidents and school suspensions than schools equipped with permanent metal detectors. Since 1998, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani transferred school security responsibilities to the NYPD, the number of police personnel in the schools soared by 62 percent, from 3,200 to 5,200. The police force in New York City schools is now the fifth largest police force in the country—there are more police in New York City schools than there are on the streets of cities such as Baltimore, Las Vegas, Boston and Washington D.C. Ever heard of the school to prison pipeline? School to Prison Pipeline is a system of local, state and federal education and public safety policies that pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. The pipeline disproportionately affects youth of color and youth with disabilities. The report makes seven recommendations to the Department of Education.