(CN) – New York City police arrested more than 15 students a day in the first quarter of 2012, slapping the cuffs on black students far more often than their more populous white classmates, a new report shows.
The New York Civil Liberties Union’s report, released on Wednesday, shows how black and Latino students are disproportionately arrested and cited by police in public schools.
Between January and March of this year, black students accounted for 64 percent of all arrests, according to the report, which notes that Department of Education enrollment data shows that blacks represent just 31 percent of the student body.
“During this reporting period, police were 12 times more likely to make an arrest of a black student than a white student,” the group said in a statement.
Nearly three-quarters of the total 327 arrested were male, the report found.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman criticized the “heavy-handed policing in city schools.”
“If the Bloomberg administration truly wants to help young men of color succeed, then it must address these disparities and focus more resources on educating children, not arresting them,” Lieberman said in a statement.
Of all the arrests and citations, 71 percent were for disorderly conduct. Civil rights groups have criticized the NYPD for getting involved in incidents that should be handled by school officials.
“The high percentage of disorderly conduct charges – a catchall category that could encompass all kinds of typical misbehavior – indicates that NYPD officers are getting involved in non-criminal disciplinary incidents,” NYCLU Advocacy Director Udi Ofer said in a statement.
“We call on the Bloomberg administration to commission an independent audit of these incidents of arrests and summonses to assess whether these situations would be better handled by educators,” Ofer added.
In a pending class action lawsuit filed in 2010, the ACLU and its New York chapter challenged the NYPD’s practice of wrongful arrest and excessive force against schoolchildren.