BROOKLYN - Crime is up in Brooklyn and city schools, according to a public advocate who says the mayor's policy of policing students isn't working.
According to Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, major crime in public schools rose 20 percent from the same time last year. Gotbaum and the American Civil Liberties Union say they don't trust numbers from Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC) that claim the city's Impact Schools Initiative is cutting violence. Under the initiative, the NYPD and Department of Education (DOE) place police officers, metal detectors and cameras in problem-plagued schools. Some students complain cops are disrespectful and they treat students like criminals.
Gotbaum wants the city to fund peer mediation and conflict resolution programs. She argues the mayor is treating the symptoms of at-risk schools rather than addressing the core issue of aggression between students.The DOE counters the public advocate's findings are based on an anonymous Internet survey of less than 3 percent of educators. Education officials say the program works and they have proof in the form of several schools that are now on the path to success.