Students, Parents and Teachers Rally and Testify at NYC DOE Hearing on Discipline Code; Demand Changes to Reduce Suspensions and Racial Disparities
June 6, 2013 – Today members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY), a coalition of students, parents, teachers and education advocates, held a rally, together with Council Member Robert Jackson, at the Department of Education (DOE) to call for changes to the NYC Discipline Code. Members of the Campaign are concerned that the new draft of the Discipline Code, being reviewed at a DOE public hearing later this evening, lacks significant changes that would address the disproportionate suspension of students of color and includes 27 behavior infractions for which a student can be suspended for a full year.
In the 2011-2012 school year, while Black students made up only 28% of the student population, they received 53% of suspensions in New York City schools. Students, parents and teachers are demanding immediate action, calling on the DOE to limit the use of suspensions and to require that schools implement more effective alternatives, like peer mediation and restorative justice.
“I am disappointed that the draft discipline code the DOE released does not do enough to reduce suspensions in our schools. What we need from our schools is support and understanding, not suspensions. As a student of color I am frustrated about the racial disparities in suspensions, it’s unfair and shows that the current system isn’t working. We need solutions like the ones Dignity in Schools is fighting for, not suspensions,” Omar Yaya, a Junior at the Morris Campus in the Bronx and a member of Sistas and Brothas United and Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York.
Read the entire press release here.