Policing in schools is one of the fastest growing areas of law enforcement in the U.S. What makes a school safe? How does police presence impact school safety? How can students impact safety in their schools?

In the fall of 2019, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Ro Garrido and Teacher Nick Deming’s 11th grade English class at the International Community High School’s (ICHS) to explore school safety. To investigate, students got out of the classroom to speak with their peers and community members about what makes them feel safe. The group teamed up with Designer Marcela Szwarc and created Safe Space? to teach others what they learned and encourage students to get involved in school safety decisions.

Students debuted their project to their peers at the International Community High School, where they discussed their creative process, explored the future of school safety through collaborative drawing, and celebrated their hard work over snacks!

Get your own booklet here!

Check out more photos of students in action here!

What People Are Saying

“Going outside and talking to people was a new experience for us – It’s not something that I’m used to. I really liked the interview, because I thought that people didn’t care about this issue, but they do.” – Elianet Vallejo, ICHS Student

“This project made me think about a lot of stuff that I didn’t recognize or think about at school. I really liked making the pillows and I like the booklet! Its very colorful and if I saw this in the library I would grab it and read it.” – Lismar Araujo, ICHS Student

“My favorite activity was when we got to go out to interview people outside, because we got to meet a lot of different people and hear their opinions.” – Armi Espino, ICHS Student

“I liked getting out of the monotony of doing every day the same.  I liked learning about something that’s really happening today. I like that approach [to learning].”
– Jean Santana, ICHS Students


Class J: Leticia Acosta Ramos, Laminou Adoi, Kate Aguilar, Victor Aguilar, Elias Al-Masajedi, Nayely Arroyo Garcia, Mamadou Barry, Guilleldy Candelario Rodriguez, Elda Chavarria, Lucilo Checo, Ribaldy De La Rosa Matias, Cheikh Diaw, Ashley Espaillat, Brailyn Espinal, Armi Expino, Keyla Garcia, Erimendi Antonio Inoa, Yari Mer Martinez Alvarez, Waldyn Payamps, Genesis Polanco Espinal, Laureen Polanco-Payero, Abranny Polonio, Ashly Quezada, Zariah Rivera, Smarlin Rumaldo Mendez, Chelsie Salvatierra, Santiago Sanchez, Mamadou Sow, Jan Tavarez, Nicole Vargas Alcantara, Yelissa Vasquez, Mahmou Zaghloul

Class K: Huda Alhanshali, Abdullah Alnaham, Mutahar Assakaf, Darwins Augustin, Rosibel Caba Rodriguez, Olvin Chavez, Saikat Chowdury, Isatou Daillo, Nelson Escalante Maldonado, Sindy Garcia, Rudelfi Dario Inoa Garcia, Eimy Lora, Carla Martinez, Teddy Martinez, Elischa Milandou, Angel Molina Veras, Crissith Nova Pena, Benjamin Novas, Nallely Paz, Carlos Jose Rodriguez, Jean Rosado Toribio, Andrea Ruiz Vasquez, Abdou Ouadoud Sanga, Jean Santana, Moustapha Sene, Shima Sheikh, Yerli Suriel, Bousseye Sysavane, Chozin Thet, Gabriela Turbi, Elianet Vallejo, Maria Vargas Alcantara

Class L: Erika Adames, Jose Aguilar, Syed Tareq Ahmed, Lismar Araujo, Almunther Assakaf, Fatimata Barry, Maimouna Barry, Marina Corporan, Yoanny De La Cruz, Thierno Diallo, Cheikh Diop, Edward Estevez, Maria Garcia, Anadely Hernadez, Erileidy Inoa, Cristian Jimenez Escobar, Pollob Kapali, Elba Lainez, Harony Nunez Martinez, Chantal Ortega, Edward Pena, Yadiel Pena Marte, Joan Perez, Lisi Perez, Ambar Ramirez Deleon, Hendryk Roche, Lisanyi Rodriguez, Sharif Salami, Abdou Ouahid Sanga, Gustavo Vazquez Pantoja, Israel Velasquez, Estarlin Zapata Hernandez

Resources & Links

The International Community High School is a progressive high school in the South Bronx for English Language Learners.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governer Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Diana Ayala.

Special Thanks

Amelia Frank, Khalid McKenzie, Johanna Miller, Gileen Navarro, Leelee Romero-Smith, June Song


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Ro Garrido
  • Designer
    • Marcela Szwarc
  • Project Lead
  • Fielding Hong
  • Project Support
  • Leigh Taylor

    • The International Community High School
    • Classroom Teacher
    • Nick Deming


      Berena Cabarcas