Activists, educators, and students are upset that policing in schools will remain the same after New York City’s budget kept school safety officers inside public schools, shifting their oversight and funding from the NYPD to the Department of Education.

The Fiscal Year 2021 also imposes a hiring freeze on teachers and reduces the number of counselors. The budget passed 32 to 17 while activists continued to camp outside City Hall Park, demanding legislators cut at least $1 billion from the NYPD. Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, a vocal supporter of the "defund the police" movement, said that the budget was “not a people victory.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter that shifting the school safety agents, 5300 in all, would provide real change.

It was also not celebrated by educators who wanted greater investment in public schools.

Madeline Borrelli, 30, a special education teacher in Brooklyn, thinks that shifting funding for school safety officers to the DOE is dishonest, serving as a symbolic gesture. “We’re asking for equitable schools and they’re sort of giving us crumbs,” said Borrelli.

Borrelli notes that her school has a strong policing culture, with school safety officers carrying out zero-tolerance policies that result in many suspensions. If it were up to her, she would use the money that’s meant to police young people for restorative justice programing and a culturally responsible curriculum. Anything that’s left over should go into the infrastructure of the school so her students who have disabilities don’t have to miss class because of the single elevator in the school.

Caitlin Delphin, a special education teacher in Brooklyn, says it’s difficult for her students to be expected to focus on classwork in the morning after having to go through metal detectors. “It is not infrequent that students will come into class in the morning or throughout the day having just had a negative interaction with a school safety agent that we then have to talk through with that student before they’re able to focus on what’s going on around them,” said Delphin.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly said that when he was a school board member, safety was always an issue and a main priority as a parent of two New York City public school kids. He believes school safety agents are necessary in schools, particularly in school that face challenges when it comes to safety. “My honest feeling is that the safety issue is not resolved in schools at this point and that school safety is necessary in its current form,” de Blasio told reporters on June 10th.

“Mayor de Blasio will never and most likely has never sent his children to schools that have more police officers in them than guidance counselors,” Natasha Capers, director for the Coalition for Educational Justice, said in response to de Blasio’s comments.

Capers called on the mayor to fully fund schools as a safety mechanism, rather than rely on policing in schools and taking out necessary resources. “We have an overfunded police department. We have never had fully funded schools in Black and Latinx communities. It’s ridiculous, it’s just smoke and mirrors,” said Capers.

Students expressed disappointment in the budget and felt that their calls to get police out of schools were ignored by those in power. Emma Rehac, who graduated high school last week, has been camping out at City Hall with the Occupy City Hall movement. “This new budget is just like a show. I think they use a lot of obscure language and math to kinda glaze over that they are not meeting the demands that people are making,” she said.

Meril Mousoom,16, who had participated in the protests and offered testimony during budget hearings, said the new budget confirms to her that the movement’s requests weren't taken seriously. “I think that they think we’re too radical but we’re not. They just erased us completely,” Mousoom, a rising junior from Queens, said.