DOE Must do More to Keep Children in School

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
January 13, 2017 2:45 pm

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The New York City Department of Education today posted changes to its discipline code. The changes include measures designed to reduce suspensions for all children, especially the city’s youngest, but fall short of ending all suspensions for students in Kindergarten to second grade.

The following statement is attributable to New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“We appreciate the city’s efforts to improve school climate through increased reliance on restorative practices and a reduction in school suspensions, arrests and summons. But as the proposed discipline code reveals, the city has yet to embrace the major changes necessary to keep the most vulnerable kids in school. Students in Kindergarten can still be suspended for minor misbehavior and older students can still get arrested for minor misbehavior. Black students and students with disabilities are far more likely to receive a summons or arrest, be put in physical restraints and serve weeks or months out of school. Educators and school safety agents lack the resources and supports to successfully implement more effective forms of discipline. And the outdated memo of understanding that allocates responsibility for school discipline between the DOE and the NYPD, and that brought street policing tactics into the schools under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, remains in effect.”

The following statement is attributable to NYCLU Advocacy Director Johanna Miller:

“Today we ask the DOE to make the changes we have recommended for a decade: Eliminate out-of-school suspensions for the youngest children, eliminate the use of criminal court summonses in school, greatly restrict the use of handcuffs, and require schools to track attempts at progressive discipline before they can suspend a student. These changes have to be in the discipline code, and they must be backed up with adequate funding and training supports.”

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