Coalition Asks City to Reform Schools’ Discipline Code

(Photo by GerritsonBeach.net/Creative Commons license)

(Photo by GerritsonBeach.net/Creative Commons license)

A citywide coalition of students, parents, advocates, educators and lawyers is urging the de Blasio administration to adopt positive, school-wide approaches to discipline students that will “improve the school environment, reduce conflict and increase learning.”

The coalition – The Dignity in Schools Campaign – New York – wants the city to reduce suspensions and other harsh policies that it says violate the students’ human rights to education, reports Craig D. Frazier for the Amsterdam News.

“Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York feels it is time for us to meet with the mayor and push for much needed changes in school discipline. It has been more than a year since Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s public call for an end to New York City’s reliance on harsh and exclusionary disciplinary practices,” Dignity in Schools representative Shoshi Chowdhury told the AmNews. “New York City needs to be a leader in creating systemic changes that lead to ending the school-to-prison pipeline. We hope to meet with the mayor and are calling on the administration to convene a mayoral leadership task force with a strong mandate: to maintain school safety while reducing suspensions, referrals to EMS, summonses and arrests in schools.”

The coalition, which is being supported by two State Assembly and 16 City Council members including the council’s Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, is asking the mayor and the DOE to change the discipline code, as is being done in other cities, to establish New York City as a progressive educational leader.

A spokesperson for the DOE told the AmNews, “DOE did make revisions to the school disciplinary code. Now principals cannot suspend first-offending students who are deemed to have been ‘disorderly’ rather than ‘disruptive.’ In addition, old-fashion punishment has been replaced by ‘progressive discipline,’ ‘collaborative negotiation,’ ‘restorative approaches’ and ‘circle processes,’ rather than detention, no questions asked.”

Click here to read the complete article at Amsterdam News which specifies some of the possible reforms in the schools’ guidance interventions.

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