The head of the city’s school safety agents union wants Public Advocate Jumaane Williams to show some proof to back up his claim that his officers frequently abuse students.
In a hearing last week on the transition of school security duties from the NYPD to the Department of Education, Williams charged that “many students report verbal, physical, and sexual abuse that have been committed at the hands of school safety agents.”
Williams also said students have limited opportunities to report misconduct and that the NYPD and Department of Education don’t provide adequate data on the issue.
Safety agent union chief Greg Floyd, who opposes handing school safety responsibilities to the DOE, penned a letter to Williams Tuesday and called for him to provide support for his abuse claims.
In the letter, Floyd contends that they have become a “political punching bag” for “a whole host of problems in our educational system” and that he was “disturbed” by the public advocate’s statements about abuse.
“At the hearing, you offered no additional information about such alleged incidents,” he wrote.
Floyd said he expected that Williams “would have investigated those incidents and referred any actionable evidence of those incidents to law enforcement authorities.”
He asked him to produce any reports of misconduct.
“If you have any additional information about claimed incidents of school safety agents committing ‘verbal, physical, and sexual abuse,’ I welcome full investigations of those incidents,” Floyd said.
School safety agents are 90 percent African-American and Hispanic and 70 percent women.
The union chief opposes handing security control back to the DOE or removing agents from city schools, arguing that doing so would lead to a steep decline in security.
At last week’s hearing, City Councilman Daneek Miller asserted that agents often come from the communities they serve and are seen less as hostile officers than sources of stability.
Backers of the plan to remove them from schools or change their command structure say they foster a criminalized atmosphere and that more money should go to social workers and counselors.
While he backed an entirely new school security structure, Williams said last week that not all agents can be “painted with this same brush” and that they should be provided with other forms of employment if removed from schools.
Williams and other city officials support a “restorative justice” model for school safety that focuses on social and emotional support.
His reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
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