Monday, November 24, 2014

Police so Dangerous in NYC That Schools are giving Course on "How to Deal With Cops"

New high school course: ‘How to deal with cops’

By Kate Briquelet
November 23, 2014 | 2:14am

East Side Community High School is teaching its students how to interact with the NYPD during stop-and-frisks.Photo: Helayne Seidman

It’s Cops 101.

The principal of East Side Community HS invited the New York Civil Liberties Union to give a two-day training session last week on interacting with police.

The 450 kids were coached on staying calm during NYPD encounters and given a “What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police” pamphlet.

NYCLU representatives told kids to be polite and to keep their hands out of their pockets. But they also told students they don’t have to show ID or consent to searches, that it’s best to remain silent, and how to file a complaint against an officer.

Principal Mark Federman said he brought in the NYCLU because students told teachers they had bad experiences with being stopped by police. He said the training also was relevant to history classes studying the Ferguson, Mo., shooting.

“We’re not going to candy-coat things — we have a problem in our city that’s affecting young men of color and all of our students,” Federman told The Post.

“It’s not about the police being bad,” he added. “This isn’t anti-police as much as it’s pro-young people . . . It’s about what to do when kids are put in a position where they feel powerless and uncomfortable.”

The hourlong workshops — held in small classroom sessions during advisory periods — focused on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and how to exercise Fourth Amendment rights when being stopped and questioned in a car or at home.
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Senior student Jason Zaragoza, 18, with a pamphlet from last week’s seminar.Photo: Helayne Seidman

But some law-enforcement experts say the NYCLU is going beyond civics lessons and doling out criminal-defense advice.

Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the literature implies cops are “public enemy No. 1.”

“It’s unlikely that a high school student would come away with any other conclusion than the police are a fearful group to be avoided at all costs,” he said.