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A New Vision for School Safety

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Damon Hewitt among young studentsDamon Hewitt, Director of Education Practice Group, spoke at a press conference organized by the Student Safety Coalition, a diverse group of educators, parents, students, advocates and legal experts. They implored the next mayor to implement reforms that end overly aggressive policing in the city schools and restore authority over school discipline to professional educators.

The coalition presented "A New Vision for School Safety" – a set of nine guiding principles for overhauling the flawed Memorandum of Understanding between the New York City Department of Education and the NYPD that governs school safety operations. Implementation of these principles would clarify that educators, not police personnel, should address the vast majority of student misbehavior.

"We can't actually close the achievement gap if we don't address the discipline gap," Damon said at the press conference as he also highlighted LDF's extensive work to combat the school-to-prison pipeline.

"In order to truly improve the education of New York City’s public school students, we need to address the way they are disciplined," said Hewitt. "Students should feel nurtured and safe at school – not degraded, mistreated, and criminalized simply for being kids. By handing disciplinary responsibility back to educators, we can reduce the role of police in schools and create a better academic environment for our students."