Erin Durkin, Daily News
City Council members are pushing Mayor de Blasio to overhaul the discipline code for city public schools and cut down on suspensions.
In a letter to de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, five pols are seeking to end suspensions for what they call vague and poorly defined infractions that unfairly target black and Latino males.
“Stop-and-frisk has disproportionately criminalized young men of color on the streets of our city, and harsh disciplinary practices are doing the same thing in our public schools,” they wrote. “It’s unfair and it’s wrong.”
The authors — City Councilmen Ritchie Torres, Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards and Carlos Menchaca — say they “have experienced these biases firsthand.”
A city Education Department spokeswoman said the administration has been meeting with advocacy groups and educators to address the issue.
Brady Smith, Gotham Gazette
“Our schools are learning places. They’re not suspension places,” said Chancellor Fariña to a room full of principals this past Saturday. Could this mean real change in the way we view students in the classroom?
In Los Angeles schools, they call it “willful defiance”; elsewhere, “insubordination.” InNew York City, “B21″ or “defying or disobeying lawful authority” is the second most common reason students are suspended in school each day (based on the data we have available).
Last year in New York City schools, black students, who comprise less than a third of the student population, served more than half of the suspensions citywide. Students with disabilities, making up twelve percent of the student body, served a whopping thirty percent of principal and superintendent suspensions. Are our black students or students with special needs more disruptive, or more dangerous, than their white peers? No.
Claudio Sanchez, NPR
Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, black and white children still attend segregated schools in many parts of the country. Majority black schools are less likely to have good teachers, and kids there are more likely to be poor. That, experts say, is the single biggest obstacle to their academic success.
Molly Knefel, Rolling Stones Magazine
When Marlyn Tillman’s family moved from Maryland to Georgia, her oldest son was in middle school. Throughout his eighth grade year, he was told by his school’s administration that his clothing was inappropriate. Even a simple North Carolina t-shirt was targeted – because it was blue, they said, it was flagged as “gang-related.”
Things got worse when Tillman’s son got to high school, where he was in a small minority of black students. While he was in all honors and AP classes, he received frequent disciplinary referrals for his style of dress throughout ninth grade and tenth grade. Frustrated, his mother asked for a list of clothing that was considered gang-related. “They told me they didn’t have a list, they just know it when they see it,” Tillman tellsRolling Stone. “I said, I know it when I see it, too. It’s called racism.”