NYC Discipline Code Gets a Makeover
In a victory for students, parents, teachers and advocates in New York City, the NYC Department of Education has announced a new school discipline code that limits the number of infractions for which students can be suspended as well as the how long they can be suspended.
Credit for pushing the DOE to reform the code goes to a huge number of groups, including many OTL allies. In particular, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and members (full list here) of the Dignity in Schools Campaign - New York, supported by the Donors Education Collaborative and the Black Male Donor Collaborative, among others.
Under the new discipline code, students can no longer be suspended for one-time low-level misbehaviors like dress code violation or carrying a cell phone. And the city's youngest students can be suspended only for a maximum of 5 days, down from 10.
Keeping students in the classroom rather than pushing them out for minor misbehaviors is a crucial step towards ensuring all students have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. Students who are suspended are far more likely to fall behind in their classwork, drop out of school altogether and wind up in the juvenile justice system. What's worse, federal data from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights shows that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately targeted by harsh discipline policies.
Many of the groups involved in reforming NYC's discipline code are part of the "Solutions Not Suspensions" initiative, which is calling for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions and for school-districts across the country to implement alternative discipline practices that keep students in the classroom. Learn more about the call and add your voice at www.stopsuspensions.org!