Mayor Bill de Blasio ends suspensions for students in kindergarten through second grade

The de Blasio Administration announced on July 21, the second phase of its roadmap to promote safe schools and end overly punitive school discipline policies. The changes announced today end suspensions for students in kindergarten through second grade, replacing suspensions with more age-appropriate discipline techniques. The reforms add more than $47 million annually to support school climate initiatives and mental health services – conducted in partnership with ThriveNYC – and set clear protocols for the removal or addition of scanners in schools while also expanding NYPD school-based data that is reported publicly.

Announced in partnership with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the City Council, the reforms advance the Administration’s commitment to providing a safe and supportive learning environment and addresses the disparities in school discipline that disproportionately affect students of color and students with disabilities. The Administration’s roadmap is based on recommendations developed by the Mayor’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline – a task force launched in 2015 and co-chaired by the Department of Education (DOE) and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ).

To date, the de Blasio Administration school climate reforms have improved safety in schools while using school discipline methods that are fairer and more effective:

-Declines in both school-based crime and suspensions. Suspensions dropped 32 percent in the first half of the 2015-2016 school year compared to the same time period in the 2014-2015 school year. Simultaneously, crime in schools also dropped, showing that it is it possible to have more safety and less punitive discipline.

-Improved fairness in suspension process. The decline in overall suspensions has been driven in large part by a decline in suspensions for insubordination, historically a major factor in racial disparities in suspensions. Insubordination suspensions fell 81 percent during the first half of the 2015-2016 school year compared to the same time period last year.

“Schools are safe havens for communities, and these school climate reforms are steps forward in our commitment to ensuring all students are provided with a learning environment that is safe, supportive, inclusive and equitable,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We are encouraged by the decrease in the total number of school-related summonses and arrests, and in partnership with the NYPD, our new scanning policy will put clear protocols in place for schools requesting to change their scanning protocols. As a lifelong educator, parent and grandmother, these are common sense solutions to support safe learning environments both inside and outside the classroom.”

In conjunction with the roadmap, the NYPD is expanding its data reporting on school-based arrests, summonses and handcuffing. This data aggregates information from both officers and school safety agents on school campuses for the first time, presenting a more comprehensive picture of public safety that shows:

-More than a 50 percent reduction in school-related arrests by the School Safety Division and patrol officers, from the 2010-2011 to the 2014-2015 school year.
-Nearly 80 percent fewer summonses issued by the School Safety Division in the 2014-2015 school year than in the 2010-2011 school year, and expanded reporting beginning in 2016 that includes school-based summonses issued by patrol officers.
-The first-ever data set on handcuffing, which shows the majority of restraint use in the first quarter of 2016 on school campuses was the result of an arrest.

Photo credit: Jacksonville



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