NYC School Safety Agents' Lawsuit: Newtown Is Happening Every Day

School safety agents lawsuit
School safety agents lawsuit

After the Newtown, Conn., massacre, some have called for more school safety agents inside schools. But a group of 5,000 school safety agents in New York City have filed an explosive $35 million class action suit, alleging that they're paid less than other safety agents in the city, despite being exposed to gang violence, prostitution and drugs.

"It's like Newtown is happening every day in the schools, but in slow motion," said James Linsey, the attorney for the agents.

The lawsuit, initially filed three years ago (Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd pictured above signing the suit), alleges that the mostly female agents who staff public schools have been paid significantly less than their mostly male counterparts who work in hospitals, homeless shelters, and laboratories. According to Linsey, the school agents' salary caps at $35,000, while other city safety agents have salaries up to $42,000. The union brought up the disparity during contract negotiations in 2008, and threatened to sue if it wasn't remedied.

"The city's response was, 'So sue us,'" says Linsey. "So we did."

Over the last six months, the city has taken the testimonies of 135 school safety agents, who have recounted the darker horrors ravaging the city's schools, including gangs smuggling weapons into them and middle school girls selling sex for $1.

The New York Daily News read through excerpts of the transcripts, and reported some highlights: