Tuesday, July 3

'Overly aggressive' police in classroom


In a New York Times column (subscription required) today, Bob Herbert writes about a case of police harassment in the classroom-- one incident on a long list compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union in its report "Criminalizing the Classroom: The Over-Policing of New York City Schools."

According to Herbert's column, Principal Michael Soguero of Bronx Guild High School was suspended in 2005 after being arrested in front of a classroom full of students by Officer Juan Gonzalez. His crime? Defending a 16-year-old girl who had cursed within earshot of a police officer on her way to class. When the officer attempted to arrest the student, Principal Soguero intervened. Charges were later dropped, and Soguero has since moved to Colorado. Although Police Department and the district attorney initially supported Officer Gonzalez, Herbert writes that he has since learned Gonzalez is "indeed a problem officer," and that his gun and badge have since been confiscated.

1 comment:

Dr Joseph said...

If the student committed an assault, he deserved to be arrested. My sister with an Assistant DA in two major bureaus (Special Victims and Homicide) for ten years and she has reminded me that teachers don't lose their rights as citizens to file charges when they become employed by the DOE and students do not gain any special immunity from the New York State Penal Code when they enter a school building either. An assault and/or battery in the classroom in legally the same crime as it in on the street — "problem officer" or not. As an English teacher and former working journalist, I'm appalled by the use of the verb "defending." It's ambiguous and an obvious attempt on the part of the writer to obsfucate what alleged offense that student actually committed. Exactly what did the student do? Or is "defend[ing]" the latest euphemism for "assault" (or battery, depending on exactly what happened.