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Stop-and-Frisk Under Michael Bloomberg Led More Black Students To Drop Out, Study Shows

When Andom Ghebreghiorgis was a middle school teacher at the Richard R. Green campus in the Bronx, his students sometimes arrived to class late, reeling from being stopped by the police on their way to school.

“They would enter the classroom very agitated, and not really in a place to learn,” said Ghebreghiorgis, who taught there a decade ago. “On the days in which my students were stopped and frisked, their whole day was affected.”

He added, “It probably still affects them now.”

A recent study offers tangible support for Ghebreghiorgis and other critics of stop-and-frisk: Ratcheting up this policing tactic led more New York City public middle school students to later drop out of high school and fewer to enroll in college, it found. The harmful effects were particularly large for black students — who also bore the brunt of stop-and-frisk.

The study, conducted by Andrew Bacher-Hicks and Elijah de la Campa, both doctoral students at Harvard, focuses on New York City middle schools between 2006 and 2012, a period when stop-and-frisk substantially increased.

The findings come as former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, now vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, is rising in the polls but facing backlash for rapidly expanding — and repeatedly defending — the controversial police tactic, which a judge ruled was racially discriminatory in 2013. (Bloomberg Philanthropies is a funder of Chalkbeat.)