NYC Reports More School Suspensions, but Serious Crimes Declined

In the first data compelled by the Student Safety Act (Local Law 6 (2011) of City of New York) [PDF], the NYC Dep’t of Ed. has revealed:

City schools reported handing out more suspensions to students in the last year than before, but most of that increase was owed to a jump in less-serious infractions, while reported cases of egregious misbehavior dropped.

City Department of Education officials announced on Tuesday that the number of suspensions given students citywide increased to 73,441 in 2010-2011, from 71,721 the previous school year.

During this time, schools reported giving students fewer superintendent’s suspensions, which can force students out of school for six days or several months, depending on the severity of their actions. But schools reported many more principal’s suspensions, which can last from one to five days and are given for more minor infractions, like cursing at a teacher or cheating on an exam.

The city’s data show that black and Hispanic students are on the receiving end of most school suspensions. More than half of all suspensions were given to black students last year, though they account for about a third of students in the city’s schools. Hispanic students, who make up close to 40 percent of public school students, got about 37 percent of the suspensions. Nearly a third of all suspensions were given to special education students.

Last month, a report by the National Education Policy Center found that, nationwide, school suspensions for non-white students in grades K-12 have increased by more than 100 percent since 1970.

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