PHOTO: ANTRIM CASKEY
More than 50 students from the Community School for Social Justice (CSSJ) in the South Bronx rallied in front of Department of Education headquarters in Lower Manhattan on March 29 to protest aggressive police searches on their campus. Eight days earlier, CSSJ students who refused to walk through random scanners installed by NYPD officers were threatened with suspension and Karim Lopez, an afterschool program coordinator, was banned from the school after he brought representatives of the New York Civil Liberties Union to observe the searches.
“How much of our freedom must we give up for safety?” asked Edwin Rogriguez, a junior at CSSJ. “I am tired of being searched illegally and being treated like a criminal just to get an education. It’s time for student rights to be known and respected. We need to restore the balance between safety and freedom.”