NYC students rally to get cops out of their schools

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About 200 students and parents marched from Washington Square Park to City Hall Saturday to protest the presence of police officers in city schools — with some flipping the bird to New York’s Finest along the way.

Carrying signs that read “Counselors Not Cops,” and “Police Free Schools,” they demanded that the city put more resources into mental health services instead of law enforcement — even as the Big Apple grapples with a surge in shootings and other crimes.

Marchers were also against a city plan to transfer oversight of school safety agents from the NYPD to the Department of Education.

Jocelyn Palafox Diaz, a student at Curtis High School on Staten Island, spoke at the kickoff rally in the park, calling the transfer “infuriating.”

“We reject this,” she said. “The reality is, their proposal would only direct resources into school policing by another name.”

Students gathered in Washington Square Park on June 5, 2021 to rally for police-free schools ahead of city budget finalization.
Students gather in Washington Square Park on June 5, 2021 to rally for police-free schools ahead of the city’s budget finalization.
Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

Madeline, a teacher in Brooklyn’s District 23, which includes most of Brownsville, who asked for her full name not to be used, said, “We can’t keep laying into these systems that are going to criminalize them.”

Not everyone at the march agreed.

“I think it makes sense for some schools to have some sort of security presence whether it’s carefully trained police or other security so that the teachers and administrators are not responsible for school security,” said Benjamin Friedman, of Queens. 

On the way to City Hall, the group stopped at the 1st Precinct stationhouse in Lower Manhattan to taunt cops — with some of the marchers shouting, “You can’t stop the revolution” while others flashed their middle fingers at uniformed officers lined up behind barricades.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to give a campaign speech to students outside of City Hall.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to students outside of City Hall on June 5, 2021.
Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

The protesters got some unexpected support from far-left Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was at City Hall to endorse Maya Wiley in the race for mayor.

“We are with the kids, because … one of the things that is damaging is that when we have just a system of policing in schools, kids get used to it [at a] young age,” the Queens congresswoman said. “You think that being policed your whole life is normal and it’s not, it’s not. 

Student rally
Marchers were also against a city plan to transfer oversight of school safety agents from the NYPD to the Department of Education.
Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

“What should be the normal is when you need help and when you are acting out and if you are a kid that needs support that you get that support,” AOC said. “So we don’t answer injustices with injustice.”

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