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Introduced by Council

Res. No. 514


Resolution calling upon the Department of Education to provide one full-time guidance counselor and social worker for every 250 students and to ensure that all schools have at least one full-time guidance counselor and social worker.


By Council Members Treyger, Chin, Ampry-Samuel, Reynoso, Ayala, Holden, Lander and Cornegy


Whereas, Pursuant to the requirements of Local Law 56 of 2014, in February 2018, the Department of Education (DOE) reported that there are 4,173 guidance counselors and social workers combined across all DOE schools, and yet, as reported by the New York Police Department (NYPD), there are currently more than 5,000 School Safety Agents (SSAs) in DOE schools; and

Whereas, The American Civil Liberties Union reported that the presence of police officers in schools, lead to students feeling criminalized for conduct that should be addressed by school staff; and

Whereas, While SSAs are not police officers, as indicated by the Center for Public Integrity, SSAs are employed by the NYPD, wear a police uniform and a shield, and have handcuffs on their belts; and

Whereas, As stated in a 2018 report released by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, during school year (SY) 2016-17, SSAs and NYPD officers issued more than 2,000 summonses or arrests in DOE schools, and suspensions in DOE schools increased by more than 20 percent during the first half of SY 2017-18 in comparison to the first half of the year prior; and

Whereas, The Comptroller also reported that during SY 2017-18 students were handcuffed in more than 1,800 incidents, including students as young as age five; and

Whereas, According to New York University, students with disabilities and students of color are disproportionately removed from their classes; and

Whereas, Numerous advocates, such as the Urban Youth Collaborative, argue that many DOE schools perpetuate the “school-to-prison-pipeline,” by which students are pushed into the juvenile and criminal justice systems through school policing and student suspensions; and

Whereas, At a March 2018 town hall meeting convened by Mayor de Blasio to discuss school safety, many students indicated that SSAs did not make them feel safer in schools, and they advocated for fewer SSAs and more school guidance counselors; and

Whereas, Research shows that guidance counselors and social workers are beneficial for students social, emotional, and academic wellbeing as well as their safety; and

Whereas, As reported by the National Association of Social Work (NASW), school social workers are prepared to understand warning signs of threatening behavior and work to prevent school violence; and

Whereas, A study by professor Anderson-Butcher of Ohio State University shows that students who received school social work services experienced an increase in their satisfaction with their school, their self-confidence, and their perceptions of their academic achievement; and

Whereas, According to research published by the American Counseling Association, counseling in schools reduces classroom disruptions, and school counselors can help prevent student suicide; and

Whereas, According to NASW, there should be a social worker-to-general education student ratio of 1:250, and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) also recommends a school counselor-to-student ratio of 1:250; and

Whereas, DOE’s 2018 Report on Guidance Counselors shows that, during SY 2015-16, while DOE schools had a guidance counselor and social worker to student ratio of 1:241, DOE schools had a 1:348 student-to-guidance counselor ratio, which is significantly above ASCA’s recommended ratio; and

Whereas, DOE’s report also shows that some schools had just one guidance counselor for over 1,000 students, and 41 DOE schools did not have a single guidance counselor or social worker; and

Whereas, Regulations of New York State Commissioner of Education do not currently require school counselors in elementary schools, although the State will require that students in these schools have access to a certified school counselor beginning in SY 2019-20; and

Whereas, Research shows the harms of policing in schools and the benefits of providing students with school guidance counselors and social workers; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the Department of Education to provide one full-time guidance counselor and social worker for every 250 students and to ensure that all schools have at least one full-time guidance counselor and social worker.


LS # 7334