School Disciplinary Codes to be Reviewed

(Photo by GerritsonBeach.net/Creative Commons license)

(Photo by GerritsonBeach.net/Creative Commons license)

New disciplinary codes for New York City schools are up for review soon, and the expectation is that the new codes will ease the race-based disparities in suspensions and arrests that current prevail in the schools, reports Dana Gethers of the Amsterdam News.

The NYPD posts school safety officers in the schools, most of them unarmed. In 2012, more than 62.5 percent of students arrested were black, and 32 percent were Hispanic.

The New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force, which researches strategic practices that will allow for the safety of the school community as well as individual students, discovered that from July 2011 to June 2012, the NYPD reported 882 arrests made by school safety agents—more than half for misdemeanors.

“Most school arrests were for minor, typical adolescent misbehavior that would not have resulted in arrest in a different school setting,” they concluded.

Some of the codes that have been cited for disciplinary action in the schools are subject to arbitrary interpretation, the article notes.

Mutale Nkonde, the campaign manager of #ChangetheCode and founder of Nkonde & Associates, expresses her objection to one third-level infraction, code B-21, which holds that “defying or disobeying the lawful authority or directive of school personnel or school safety agents in a way that substantially interferes with the tone and climate of the educational environment” could be punishable by a principal’s suspension for one to five school days.

“The cause for suspensions using the B-21 clause are subjective, [allowing] teachers to suspend children for the defiance of authority,” said Nkonde.

For more about code B-21 and the debate about changing disciplinary codes in the schools, read the Amsterdam News article.

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