Ruth Lowenkron’s Testimony Regarding Int. 0003-2022

Disability Justice, Health Justice, News, Special Education, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

Photo of a student writing with a pencil on a desk scattered with books and classroom materials.

Testimony of Ruth Lowenkron, Esq., Director, Disability Justice Program on behalf of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest before the Council of the City of New York Committees on Education and Public Safety Regarding Int. 0003-2022

November 20, 2023

Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) regarding Int. 0003-2022. NYLPI urges the City Council to ensure that the City 1) ceases responding to students in emotional crisis with police or other “school safety personnel,” and 2) provides these vulnerable students with the support they need and which is mandated by federal, state, and local law. While NYLPI supports Int. No. 0003-2022, which seeks to regulate responses to students in emotional crisis in public schools, it must be significantly amended to ensure that the wellbeing and rights of students are safeguarded.

Incredibly, the New York Police Department (NYPD) utilizes the same procedures – including handcuffing — for responding to students in emotional crisis as it does for arresting students suspected of having engaged in criminal activities.1 Under what best practice, let alone ethical canon, do we contemplate handcuffing students who are experiencing a health crisis?

Download the full testimony below.


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