Group informs students of their legal rights

THE BRONX - The New York Student Safety Coalition has begun distributing information cards explaining students? rights when dealing with safety agents.

The group started the campaign after a civil liberties organization accused the New York City Police Department of handcuffing and arresting more than 300 students for minor violations, such as loitering and trespassing.

According to attorney Nelson Marc, of Legal Services, under state law minors younger than 16 years old can be taken into police custody without a warrant only if they have committed a crime, not a mere infraction.

?There is this sense that there is zero tolerance in schools, and so that any way they can address misbehavior, whether it?s by using police tactics, they will do it,? Marc says. ?And that?s not what?s appropriate in a school setting.?

The NYPD, however, is disputing the claim. Officials say although students cannot be prosecuted for minor offenses like loitering, police officers still have the right to address questionable behavior.

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