New York Daily News (op-ed): Replace school safety officers with something better: There’s a better way to protect children

During a roundtable discussion I hosted announcing my criminal justice platform, one of our panelists, Stephanie Pacheco of Teens Take Charge, shared her deeply personal experiences regarding the overpolicing in her school and others, stating that “police have absolutely no place in any school environment.”

“All the millions and millions of dollars we are spending on having cops in schools should be reallocated into providing actual resources for students in need,” she added.

I commend Stephanie for her advocacy. Providing our 1.1 million public students a safe learning environment is our utmost priority, but she and many other students of color feel overpoliced, and the data, time and time again, tells us why they are feeling that way. Black and Latino students account for 90% of arrests and summonses in city schools, and in nearly all 50 states, Black students are arrested at disproportionately higher rates when compared to white students.

Another panelist during our roundtable — Shanequa Charles, executive director of Miss Abbie’s Kids — painted a similarly unjust picture, sharing that most young people in her community are exposed to the criminal justice system before they are even teenagers.

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