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.

NYPD Blows School Data Release Deadline

Rachel Monahan and Rocco Parascandola, NYPD Stalls On Crime Data, Daily News, Sept. 2, 2011, at 12:

THE NYPD has blown its first deadline to release data on arrests in city schools – by more than a month.

As part of the city’s Student Safety Act enacted in January, the NYPD had to provide the figures by the end of July.

“There is no excuse for it,” said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman. “It’s critical to understanding what the over 5,000 police employees are doing in the New York City schools.”

In the past, the department ignored similar deadlines to provide “stop and frisk” data on how often cops stop citizens without making an arrest.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem, Mott Haven) said the delay on the school safety data was troubling.

“[The NYPD was] not in favor of this legislation to begin with,” she said. “This may be reflective of that opposition.”

NYPD officials cited the need to be accurate as a reason for the delay.

They also noted data collection and analysis were complicated, and the agency had no new resources.

NYT: School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, has released an unprecedented statewide study, titled Breaking Schools’ Rules, of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students, followed for at least six years.

Alan Schwarz, School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions, N.Y. Times, July 19, 2011, at A14:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

When also considering less serious infractions punished by in-school suspensions, the rate climbed to nearly 60 percent, according to the study by the Council of State Governments, with one in seven students facing such disciplinary measures at least 11 times.

The study linked these disciplinary actions to lower rates of graduation and higher rates of later criminal activity and found that minority students were more likely than whites to face the more severe punishments.

NY Daily News: Schools chancellor says at times restraints are needed, will look into handcuffing of special ed boy

Joseph, 7, a special education student at a Manhattan School, was handcuffed.

Meredith Kolodner, Schools chancellor says at times restraints are needed, will look into handcuffing of special ed boy, N.Y. Daily News, Apr. 21, 2011, at 5.

Joseph, 7, a special education student at a Manhattan School, was handcuffed and taken away from school in an ambulance.

Promising to look into last week’s handcuffing of a 7-year-old special education student, schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said that sometimes restraining young children that way is necessary.

The Daily News reported Thursday that first grader Joseph Anderson was removed from Public School 153 in Maspeth, Queens, in handcuffs and taken in an ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital after he became upset while painting an Easter egg.

NY Post: The Chancellor earns a dunce cap

The Chancellor earns a dunce cap, N.Y. Post, Feb. 19, 2011, at 22.

Schools Chancellor Cathie Black hung a kick-me sign on herself yesterday, foolishly refusing to inject a little common sense into the Department of Education’s ridiculously inflexible “zero-tolerance” bullying policy and doing the right thing by a nine-year-old Upper East Side boy.

The lawyers win another one.

The youngster had written “kick me” on a Post-it note, stuck it on the back of a 4th-grade classmate — and promptly was suspended.

Clear English being something of a novelty among educators these days, PS 158 Principal Darryl Alhadeff said the youngter’s prank was “in violation of the Discipline Code and is classified as ‘infraction A37′ — engaging in bullying behavior — and will result in a Principal’s Suspension for a period of two days.”

NYCLU: City schools are suspending more students, and for longer

New York City’s public schools are suspending more students than they did a decade ago, and for longer periods of time, according to a report released today.

Data on student suspensions obtained by the Student Safety Coalition through Freedom of Information requests and analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that the city’s public schools have doled out increasingly large numbers of suspensions each year since 2002. Black students are being suspended in disproportionate numbers, and a third of the suspensions have taken place during months when students spend weeks sitting for state exams.

The NYCLU’s report concludes that the spike in suspension rates over the years is connected to changes in the city’s discipline code, which now categorizes more infractions as being suspension-worthy than it did a decade ago. It also notes that the police presence in schools has increased since 2002, when former Chancellor Joel Klein started Operations Safe Schools.

City Will Require Police to Report on School Arrests

Noah Rosenberg, City Will Require Police to Report on School Arrests, N.Y. Times, Dec. 21, 2010, at A30.

The New York City Council voted on Monday to require the Police and Education Departments to produce regular reports on arrests, summonses and suspensions of public school students, a victory for civil liberties advocates who say that the school police have sometimes been too aggressive in trying to keep order.

The measure, which was introduced in August 2008, was approved unanimously after compromises were made to satisfy the police and education officials….

Cuffed for doodling on school desk

Yet another reason among the 15,090 annually that I’m joining the CUNY Law Chapter of the Suspension Representation Project:

Rachel Monahan, Cuffed For Doodling on a Desk, N.Y. Daily News, Feb. 5, 2010, at 4.

Alexa Gonzalez, a student Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills, Queens, was handcuffed and detained at police precinct for doodling on her desk with erasable marker.

A 12-year-old Queens girl was hauled out of school in handcuffs for an artless offense – doodling her name on her desk in erasable marker, the Daily News has learned.

Alexa Gonzalez was scribbling a few words on her desk Monday while waiting for her Spanish teacher to pass out homework at Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills, she said.

“I love my friends Abby and Faith,” the girl wrote, adding the phrases “Lex was here. 2/1/10″ and a smiley face.