Are Students of Color Targeted for Suspension in New York City Schools?
Date:  10-14-2013

Organization claims school safety agents outnumber counselors in NYC schools
Dignity in Schools prepared the following fact sheet relating to students of color, school suspensions, and how other cities use different methods to increase learning and keep students in school.

Suspensions in NYC are Rising and Targeting Students of Color

  • In 2008-2009, there were 73,000 suspensions in NYC public schools. That year, more than 20% of suspensions lasted more than a week, compared to 14% in 1999-2000.
  • Between 2001 and 2010, the number of infractions in the Discipline Code increased by 49% and the number of zero tolerance infractions (which require a suspension) increased by 200%.

  • In the last decade, Black students, who represent 33% of the student population, received 53% of suspensions, and were more likely to be suspended for minor misbehavior.

  • Black students received 51% of suspensions for profanity and 57% of suspensions for insubordination.

  • Students with disabilities are four times more likely to be suspended than their peers.

  • Research by the American Psychological Association found that students who are suspended in school are more likely to dropout or graduate late.

  • 43,643 NYC students who entered ninth grade in 2006 did not graduate in four years.

    NYC is Prioritizing Policing and Metal Detectors over Support for Students

  • There are over 5,000 School Safety Agents in NYC schools, but in 2008-2009 there were only 3,152 guidance counselors.

  • 100,000 students pass through permanent metal detectors to enter school each day, and schools with metal detectors spend at least $2000 less per student each year than average NYC schools.

  • High schools with permanent metal detectors issued 48 percent more suspensions than schools without metal detectors.

  • Police and School Safety Agents get involved in twice as many non-criminal incidents in schools with permanent metal detectors than in schools without them.

  • 82% of students in high schools with permanent metal detectors were Black or Latino.

  • Since 2002, the city’s budget for police and security equipment in schools has increased by 65% to more than $221 million.

    Positive Alternatives to Suspension & Policing Reduce Violence & Improve Learning

  • In a study of seven NYC schools using positive approaches to discipline, like restorative practices, peer mediation and conflict resolution, researchers found that those schools had:

  • There’s a 12.2% drop out rate compared to the 17% drop out rate in schools with metal detectors.

  • Only 1 non-criminal incident per 100 students compared to 12.4 incidents per 100 students at schools with metal detectors.

  • 69.8% of students planning to attend college compared to 44.7% of students at Impact Schools.

  • In a survey of more than 300 NYC public school teachers from 130 schools, over 80% said that conflict resolution and peer mediation are effective or very effective for improving discipline and safety, while only 40% said that suspensions are effective.

  • In Denver Public Schools, the district-wide implementation of restorative practices resulted in a 40% drop in out-of-school suspensions and a 68% drop in police tickets in 2008-2009.

  • In 102 Florida schools implementing Positive Behavior Supports, disciplinary referrals fell by 25%.

  • At West Philadelphia High School, after using restorative practices for one year, suspensions were down by 50% xx and violent acts and serious incidents dropped by 52%.
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