Students Know Best on High Suspension Rates and Zero Tolerance in NYC Schools
JUNE 22, 2011
Over 100 students, parents, educators, advocates and elected officials spoke out against rising suspensions and demanded positive alternatives at a press conference and public hearing on proposed revisions to the NYC Department of Education’s Discipline Code. Suspensions in NYC have increased at an alarming rate. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of infractions in the Discipline Code increased by 49% and the number of zero tolerance infractions requiring a suspension increased by 200%. In 2008-2009, there were 73,000 suspensions in NYC public schools. These punitive policies target students of color at higher rates, contributing to the achievement gap and low graduation rates. Black students, who make up 33% of the population, received 53% of suspensions. Research by the American Psychological Association has shown that children who are suspended are more prone to fall behind in school, be held back, drop out and become incarcerated as adults.