BDS’ KEREN FARKAS ADVOCATING FOR LESS POLICING IN SCHOOLS IN THE GOTHAM GAZETTE
Great quotes by Keren in the Gotham Gazette who also testified before City Council on this very issue. See below for soundbites and a link at the bottom for full article.
“[Council Member Torres’ bill] gets at the heart of where schools are allocating resources,” said Karen Farkas, senior staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services. Farkas deals with issues related to education and counsels students between 16- and 19-years-old.
“It’s a knee-jerk reaction in communities and among lawmakers that safety is equated with the presence of safety agents,” she said. “But my clients and students of color don’t equate that with safety. It detracts from a positive community and school culture. It makes it harder for schools to be schools.”
Many of her clients, Farkas said, come from communities that are already over-policed. “Schools should be a place where kids are given the benefit of the doubt, not considered bad or criminal.”
Farkas believes Torres’ bill could reveal the effects that fewer police agents and more positive counseling would have. She also praised the administration’s recent steps for laying the groundwork and initiating discussions on restorative justice practices, whereby instead of being suspended from school, students work to make damaged relationships whole again. But, Farkas insisted that “Unless there’s a whole school reform model, and it’s done well, little piecemeal measures won’t change the whole problem.