The first week of June 2020 ignited energy and action. On June 2nd, the Minneapolis Public School Board unanimously voted to pass a resolution to terminate the contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for School Resource Officers. The next day, the Portland Public Schools Superintendent announced a plan to discontinue police presence in schools. That was just the beginning. Youth are mobilizing during a pandemic to demand and win #PoliceFreeSchools across the country.
New York City currently budgets for 5,511 personnel with the School Safety Division of the NYPD. Every year the City must also pass a budget that determines how much public funding is shifted to the NYPD – and while there is a July 1 deadline, an agreement can be reached at any time beforehand and we must urgently and collectively put pressure on decision-makers right now.
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Subject: I need you to Defund NYPD & Push for Police-Free Schools
Hi Council Members,
I have seen the consequences of policing on my community, and I have had enough. Young people deserve to have strong, supportive schools and I know that will not be possible without a divestment from the NYPD. The NYPD’s $11 billion budget is now bigger than it’s ever been, despite empty promises made by the Mayor.
When you are negotiating the budget in the days to come, I want you to say no to any budget that doesn’t cut the NYPD and funnel that money into key human services. I want you to know that budget justice is an important issue to me and to my community. Please, defund the NYPD – especially the school policing division. It’s past time for police-free schools.
The DOE’s contract with the NYPD passes $427 million out of the DOE’s budget. The City must cut this wasteful spending and stop the growing and unsustainable cost of school policing. We need police-free schools. Now is the time to cut the NYPD budget and reallocate funds to crucial health and social service programs to ensure a just COVID-19 recovery and freedom from police violence.
To find your Council Member, visit council.nyc.gov/districts/
Sample Call Script:
Hello, I’m calling as a constituent, is this Council Member [ ]?
I’m calling to urge you to support the continuing demand for the City to defund the NYPD and I’m outraged that the Mayor’s promise to cut the NYPD’s budget was largely a lie. It’s been a long year and young people, in particular, can’t be made to return to school in the fall to be greeted and harassed by the NYPD in their schools. The NYPD has no regard for the safety of young people. We need a just New York City budget that defunds school policing.
Can we count on you to vote on a budget that cuts the NYPD for real this year and make sure we defund school policing?
To find your Council Member, visit council.nyc.gov/districts/
.[@YourCouncilMember], along with committing to #DefundNYPDBudget we need you to support efforts for #PoliceFreeSchools! Can we count on you?
.@NYCSpeakerCoJo, @Dromm25, [@YourCouncilMember], school districts across the country are cutting contracts in the name of #PoliceFreeSchools. We’re counting on you as leaders in @NYCCouncil to #CutNYPDBudget and fund #EducationNotCriminalization!
.@NYCChancellor, across the country young people are demanding and winning #PoliceFreeSchools. Now is the time to practice culturally responsive sustaining education – greet students in September with support, not policing!
Every typical Friday morning at 11:05 am, Mayor de Blasio appears on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show for the Ask the Mayor segment. To call in to ask your question, dial 646-435-7280, or tweet a question using #AskTheMayor. You can also tag @BrianLehrer and listen live at www.wnyc.org or 93.9 FM.
.@BrianLehrer, can you #AskTheMayor why @NYCSchools has the largest, most expensive school police force in the country, with the highest ratio of students to school police? Other districts are stopping contracts and committing to #PoliceFreeSchools, why can’t we do the same?
.@BrianLehrer, can you #AskTheMayor why students have more police in their schools than counselors and social workers? Other cities are implementing #PoliceFreeSchools right now, shouldn’t students have more access to support than they do police?
Sample Call-in Script:
I’m calling because amid so many false promises the Department of Education continues to pay the NYPD hundreds of millions of dollars for school cops. To acknowledge that young people are experiencing police violence and watching police violence be broadcast, districts like Minneapolis, Oakland, Denver, Madison, Seattle and Portland and many more are making decisions to have police-free schools. We know young people are not safe with police in their schools, and despite political posturing, reforms have not been made to reduce the size of that Division. Why haven’t you already committed to police-free schools? Why can’t students have more counselors and social workers than they have school police?
The DOE’s contract with the NYPD passes $427 million out of the DOE’s budget. The City must cut this wasteful spending and stop the growing and unsustainable cost of school policing. We need police-free schools. Now is the time to cut the NYPD budget and reallocate funds to crucial health and social service programs to ensure a just COVID-19 recovery.
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Subject: It’s Time for Police-Free Schools
Dear Progressive Caucus,
In 2018 you stood with young people when the Independent Budget Office revealed racial disparities in how schools discipline students. The Caucus wrote, “It is time for the city to advance policy reforms necessary to make sure all students are treated fairly and equitably within all of our schools.”
Kicking off national momentum last summer, the Minneapolis School Board voted unanimously on a resolution saying that “recent actions of officers in the Minneapolis Police Department run directly counter to the values the District seeks in partners.” The same can be said of the NYPD. The conduct of the NYPD does not align with the priorities of the DOE’s equity and excellence agenda.
When you are negotiating the FY22 budget, I’m asking you to say no to any budget that doesn’t cut the NYPD as well as defund the School Policing Division.
The New York City Council will convene for their routine stated meeting on Thursday, June 17th, at 1:30 PM – we expect that at the next stated meeting they will vote on the next City budget. The Council Finance Chair recently referred to the hiring of new school cops as a contentious budget issue! Let’s gather online to garner Council support for Police-Free Schools and collectively demand #NoNewSchoolCops in the upcoming city budget!
On Saturday, June 5, 2021, on the anniversary of the largest Police-Free Schools march in New York City history, join us to demand Police-Free Schools now! Visit this event posting for more information.
On Tuesday, May 25th, the New York City Council Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on the Executive Budget that is open for public comment. You can register to testify or submit written testimony here.