From the start of the ideologically-driven push to remove School Safety Agents from Police Department supervision and place them under the Department of Education, there has been no practical reason for the shift.

In fact, the School Agents came under NYPD control 23 years ago precisely because the old Board of Education had badly mishandled the program through a mix of political influence contaminating the hiring process and plain old-fashioned incompetence. This had allowed felons—often guilty of past crimes that made them particularly unsuited to be in close proximity to children—to be hired, and the training to be less than adequate.
 
So how did Mayor de Blasio and the City Council led by Speaker Corey Johnson allow themselves to be stampeded into this change by the same people who were pushing the Defund the Police drive against the NYPD? Political cowardice is the easy answer, and unfortunately, it is also the true one.
 
Even as the public, and elected officials led by Eric Adams, who will probably be our next Mayor because he resisted the loud and angry voices calling for such changes, rejected the drive to eviscerate the Police Department, those attacking the School Safety Agents have continued to be taken seriously. They succeeded in pressuring Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Johnson and his Council comrades into canceling a new class of School Agents during this year's budget talks, and by the time braver, cooler heads prevailed and a good portion of that class was reinstated, it occurred too late for the new agents to alleviate a staff shortage that figures to last for the rest of the year.
 
While Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, in one of his less-responsible crusades, has claimed school agents have physically and sexually assaulted students, he hasn't furnished any evidence to support those charges. That leaves us wondering whether he is just rehashing valid complaints on those fronts lodged during the 1990s before the switch to NYPD jurisdiction was made. 
 
The level of ignorance that has seeped into the dialogue led some City Council Members to support a bill that would strip the Safety Agents of their weapons. The bill had a small flaw: the agents aren't presently armed.
 
School Safety Agents interviewed by this newspaper's Crystal Lewis objected to the claim by critics that they are in some way responsible for the suspension of a disproportionate number of students of color. They pointed out that they have no say on suspension decisions, which are made by the school's Principal; the Agents also reflect the student body in the sense that 90 percent of them are people of color, and 70 percent are women.
 
And the criticism about the racial makeup of those suspended gives no thought to the possibility that those numbers reflect the reality of what is happening in the public schools. Throwing raw numbers against the wall won't make them stick if they are not supported by facts, most notably whether there is a pattern in which white students have not been suspended for committing the same or similar offenses as those that result in suspensions for black and brown students.
 
The lack of thought behind the effort to disrupt the work lives of School Safety Agents while staining their characters can be seen in one step being taken to rein them in: they will be barred from making arrests.
 
So who will take over that duty while the School Safety Agents use their new techniques in de-escalation and restorative justice? NYPD officers, who were the target of so much misplaced rage by the Defund movement.
 
Sound screwy? No more so than this initiative.
 
Mr. de Blasio has shown by now that he is beyond embarrassment when pledging his ideological allegiance. But Mr. Adams, who said during the campaign that he didn't consider the Safety Agents to be cops and had reservations about the transfer in jurisdiction, will hopefully have the good sense to cancel the change in jurisdiction before it wreaks havoc with safety in the schools.

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