A progressive push to soften school discipline has caused student suspensions to plummet — and made city classrooms more chaotic and dangerous than ever, parents and teachers charge.
Suspensions of five days or more meted out by principals and superintendents plunged more than 42 percent from the fall of 2017 to the fall of 2021, from 14,502 to 8,369, Department of Education data shows.
As suspensions declined, taxpayer money allocated to “restorative justice” — a system that sends badly-behaving students to mediation, conflict “circle” meetings, and guidance counseling, rather than boot them from classrooms — soared. The city in February pledged to sink $1.3 million more into such programs.
“That’s the reason everything’s in the toilet,” one Queens educator, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post. “They were saying people of color were disproportionately affected by suspension, but to completely take [suspensions] away from everybody in every instance is doing more harm than good.”
Black and Hispanic kids are suspended more often than their peers, according to a 2021 report, and some advocates have cheered the drop in kicking kids out.
But fewer suspensions mean more mayhem in the classroom, according to educators and parents.
“We have teachers getting kicked at, spit at, cursed at, things thrown at [them] and the kid is back the next day like nothing happened,” said the teacher, who didn’t give her name for fear of retaliation. “And the teacher is asked, ‘What did you do to trigger the child?’”
The fact that educators now have little recourse emboldens misbehaving kids, said one teacher.
“Right now, with the way the discipline code is, it’s basically, ‘Stop doing that or else we’ll ask you again,” said Queens teacher Kathy Perez. “The kids know that there are no consequences.”
Kids who want to learn, the vast majority, get cheated.
“Everyone is so concerned with the rights of the two or three upstarts in the room, that the other 30 kids — their rights to get an education … to be able to sit in an environment that’s not intimidating, that’s not scary, that’s not filled with noise” don’t matter, said Perez, a reading specialist who won a $125,000 legal settlement from the city after she was hurt by out-of-control teens in class. “No one has ever had an answer to that.”
Olivia Ramos said her son was assaulted five times at Manhattan’s 75 Morton, a West Village middle school which pushed restorative justice.
Read the full article on the NY Post website at https://nypost.com/2022/06/04/teachers-parents-want-discipline-as-nyc-student-suspensions-fall/