Park Slope

Park Slope PTA protests student-handcuffing incident

March 27, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Parents and students at Park Slope Collegiate secondary school are protesting what they say was the uncalled for handcuffing of a student by NYPD officers. Photo by Nagita Sykes, District 15 Presidents Council

Conflicting versions of the story at Park Slope Collegiate

Parents at a Park Slope secondary school are protesting what they say was the uncalled for handcuffing of a student on Thursday by NYPD officers who acted despite protestations from witnesses that the boy had done nothing wrong.

Parents and students held a protest rally on Friday at Park Slope Collegiate, one of four schools housed in the former John Jay campus at 237 7th Ave. They called for the elimination of metal detectors at the school, saying they make students feel like criminals.

NYPD sources say, however, that the incident, while unintentional, was triggered when the high school student became confrontational.

NYPD spokesperson Kim Y. Royster told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday that the school safety agent was “struck in the eye by a 19-year-old student. The student was issued a summons for disorderly conduct which will be returnable in youth court.  The allegations were referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau and will be investigated by CCRB.”

According to tweets by NY1 reporter Lindsey Christ, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son Dante, a student at Brooklyn Tech High School, led a group of debaters to the protest. Dante, a champion debater, had no comment, Christ said.

Parents gave their version of events in a statement issued by the school’s PTA on Thursday. According to this account, the student was stopped at the metal detector by a school safety officer on Thursday morning.

“The student was wearing a pair of glasses that needed repair and he was using a pin to hold them together … security felt that the little pin posed a threat to school safety. They stopped him, took his glasses, and confiscated the pin,” the PTA said.

“When the student reached to recover his glasses and the pin, officers restrained him. They brought him to the ground, pinned him down, and handcuffed him,” the PTA claims. A safety officer is reported as alleging the student’s elbow hit him in the face on the way down.

The student was released to school principal’s office, and while there, “NYPD officers arrived on our floor, forcefully entered Principal [Jill] Bloomberg’s office, and handcuffed our student again. He was dragged out, placed under arrest, and held in a room by NYPD officers without his parents or any of our staff present. After multiple discussions with NYPD and School Safety, he was released and there were no charges filed,” parents say.

An NYPD source told the Eagle that the student failed to comply with the school safety agent’s directions and began to struggle with him, causing the agent to sustain an injury to the left side of his eye.  The agent was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

“This incident is being reviewed by the NYPD,” New York City Department of Education spokesperson Jason Fink told the Eagle late Friday. “We take safety in our schools very seriously and we work to ensure a supportive, respectful environment for all our students.”

Parents say the metal detectors must go.

“Our students are required to pass through metal detectors and are treated like suspects based on someone else’s idea of perceived threat. Having to walk through a metal detector each morning — when the majority of students at primarily white schools do not — is a consistent physical and emotional obstacle that confronts our students every morning before they can sit down to learn,” parent Katie Mosher-Smith told the Eagle.

In October 2014, students complained that they were being harassed by either school safety officers or police officers from the 78 precinct because of their color. Students alleged at a town hall meeting that cops used bullhorns to tell them to “get out of the neighborhood,” according to PIX 11.