Did school safety agents go too far?

December 8, 2008 4:03:23 PM PST
The New York Civil Liberties Union is making allegations against school safety agents Monday on behalf of a Queens high school student who says he was assaulted and beaten on campus.And they say it's a trend.

Rohan Morgan is the latest public high school student in New York City to claim physical abuse at the hand of school safety agents.

"They're supposed to be here to protect us, make sure we're ok," Morgan said. "They're the ones that are causing the trouble."

Morgan is a student at Hillcrest High School, where he says he was roughed up by security several times, including a recent confrontation over his cell phone.

"They took me to a back room, started hitting, punching, kicking me, just to get the phone from me," he said. "Then they handcuffed me and took it from me."

His family has filed a claim toward a lawsuit against the city. His mother has a negative view of school safety officers in general.

"They're very cruel to our children," Trudy Ann Morgan said. "They (treat the) children like they're criminals."

About two weeks ago, a student at RFK High School in Queens said his head injury resulted from the actions of an aggressive safety agent.

"When you go to school, you have to be able to feel safe," NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said. "Kids can't learn in that kind of an environment, that is dangerous to them."

But a union leader for school safety agents defended his members' reputations.

"They perform a crucial function, protecting the students in schools," George Geller said. "They confiscate guns and knives and nunchuks and other weapons, daily."

It should be noted that no photographic evidence or medical records were provided to support Morgan's claim. There was no comment from the Department of Education, which does not comment on cases that involved lawsuits. But community leaders in the area are calling for a full investigation.

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STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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