New York City educators are mounting a letter-writing campaign to urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and city and state lawmakers to dramatically slash funding to the police department and instead divert millions of dollars to public schools.
The campaign, launched by Brooklyn MS 839 principal Michael Perlberg and first reported by Chalkbeat, has garnered more than 600 signatures from school supervisors, teachers and parent activists.
The letter also recommends that the NYPD no longer employ and oversee school safety agents. The NYPD took over school safety in 1998 amid complaints that school officials were sweeping violent student incidents under the rug.
The letter comes as public schools face budget reductions because the coronavirus pandemic has blown a massive $9 billion hole in the city’s finances.
The educators’ call to defund the NYPD also comes amid the uproar over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The educators said they’re also critical of the NYPD’s “own sordid history” of brutality against “black and brown New Yorkers.”
“We demand that the governor, mayor and City Council pass a budget that puts children first during this crucial time. That means drastic increases to public school and social service budgets, and sharp cuts to the NYPD’s budget,” the letter said.
De Blasio, during his press briefing earlier Friday, rejected calls to substantially the police force that keeps the city safe.
The mayor and council must approve a budget for the new fiscal year by July 1.
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