There’s always been an all-too-real “silent” truth that people tend to relate negative adjectives to people of darker skin color. Among those fear-invoking words, dangerous has always been attached to those belonging to our world’s black and brown communities. In a report released at the beginning of last month (May 8), the research of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) revealed that 99 percent of the students handcuffed in 2016 were either black or Latinx, naming only three incidents that didn’t involve children of the aforementioned descent.
The executive director for the not-for-profit civil liberties organization, Donna Liberman, detailed the emotional and academic well-being of students affected by police action. Attesting to the fact that the act of handcuffing is “humiliating,” she offers that having a student endure such an incident is “incompatible with the safe and supportive learning environment a school is supposed to provide.”
“We have made a great deal of progress over the last few years and it’s very clear that the use of harsh police tactics in school disciplinary matters is neither necessary nor effective to keep children and staff safe,” the executive director states.
While 99 percent of the 262 “child in crisis” handcuffed incidents – a case where a student “displaying signs of emotional distress” is taken from their classroom and taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation – that occurred in NY in 2016 were black and Latinx, these communities’ safety are left on the back burner.
As a result of the predisposed bias, these statistics make the school-to-prison pipeline all too real for children of the black and Latinx communities. On Tuesday (June 13), a Texas bill was passed to make it illegal to punish a child in pre-kindergarten to second grade with out-of-school suspension, with hopes of alleviating the effect of the systemic pipeline. The parents of New York can only hope for the same protection to be dealt their children in these sensitive situations.