During my 50 years at The Village Voice, I wrote about Wilson Reyes and other kids taken into police custody for minor infractions. In a more civilized era of American schooling they would have merely been scolded by their teacher or perhaps sent to the principal’s office.
New York State law prohibits children under 16 from being arrested for minor, noncriminal violations Ike loitering. But until deciding not to seek a fourth term, Michael Bloomberg—New York City’s self-anomted “Education Mayor”— and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly fostered the policy of booking “problem’ students at the nearest precinct house.
Human rights advocate John W. Whitehead.
head of The Rutherford Institute, has continuaBy documented the extent of over-policing. He believes that America’s schools have been transformed into “authoritarian instruments of compliance” and cites a litany of glaring examples: “A 14-year-old student arrested for text- ing in class. Three middle-school-aged boys in Florida thrown to the ground by police officers wielding rifles, who then arrested them for goofing off on the roof of the school…Two six-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops-and-robbers A 12-year-old New York student hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker.”
-Nat Hentoff – a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Jazz Foundation of America board member, is a historian of the Constitution, syndicated columnist and jazz critic.