Toni Smith-Thompson, Senior Organizer at NY Civil Liberties Union, discusses the importance of replacing police presence in schools with restorative practices. Toni envisions ethical schools, in which all students feel both appreciated by and accountable to school communities, and conflicts are resolved internally. Students returning to school, many of whom will have experienced trauma associated with the pandemic and police violence, will need nurturing, not punitive measures.


00:00-00:52 Intros

00:52-04:10 It’s disingenuous to say “Black people want more cops”

04:10- 06:15 School safety officers in 2020 NYC budget agreement 

06:15-07:25 School safety officers and principals

07:25-08:36 School based arrests: school safety officers and 911 calls

08:36-10:25 Moving past the default to policing

10:25-13:38 Services children will need and will they get them?

13:38-21:39 Where will the help children need come from?

21:39-23:18 Will adults in schools be prepared to respond to social-emotional needs and to academic requirements?

23:18-26:07 The goal is police-free schools

26:07-31:39 What does a restorative school community look like?

31:39-33:15 Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 



Soundtrack by Podington Bear