NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - School crime is at an all-time low, according to the New York City Department of Education. But the New York Civil Liberties Union is waving a red flag in a new report that notes that a disproportionate number of students handcuffed in city schools in 2016 were black and Latino.
Black and Hispanic students make up about two-thirds of the city's roughly 1 million students. But the NYCLU said that 99 percent of those arrested within school walls are black and Hispanic.
"What it tells us is that precinct officers are using our schools as an easy hunting ground to do their law enforcement activities," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said.
The NYPD said very few students, especially in cases where they're emotionally disturbed, are physically restrained and that "The NYPD continues to work closely with city schools to reduce arrests and provide a safe learning environment for all students. Arrests are down 55 percent over past five school years. Summonses issued by the NYPD are down by 81 percent over the past five school years."
"whereas a white child who is arrested or summonsed or engaged in some other incident involving the police in school has a 1 in 4 chance of being handcuffed," Lieberman said.
A Department of Education Spokesperson said: "We're encouraged by the continued decrease in number of suspensions, school-based arrests and summonses. Nothing is more important than the safety of students and staff and we're continuing to invest in and expand critical school climate and mental health initiatives."
"Let's acknowledge the progress that's been made," Lieberman said.
The NYCLU wants the mayor to make schools a safe haven. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is spending $47 million on the school justice project for at-risk youth.