Arrests, Suspensions Down in New York City Schools


New statistics recently released by New York City Education Department officials show a decline in arrests and suspensions in New York City schools.

For years now, the trend has shown a decrease in arrests and suspensions in public high schools.  This year the trend continues as arrests for the first 110 days of school are down 16% from last year while suspensions are down 10%.

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña is reportedly happy with the results.

“Students learn best when they are in a safe, respectful and supportive environment,” said Fariña. “We are carrying out our commitment to improving the school atmosphere for students in all five boroughs.”

According to the recent figures, city principals suspended 22,509 students in the first 110 days of school for the 2014-15 school year, down from the 25,385 suspensions that were handed out in the 2013-14 school year, writes Ben Chapman for The Daily News.

In addition, school safety officials reported 225 arrests and 362 summonses at city schools during the first 110 days of the current school year.  Last year they reported 267 arrests and 395 summonses.

Major crime has also gone down, dropping 9% from 449 incidents reported to 408.

Arrest and suspension rates have been on the decline since 2012 in city schools.  This is in part due to educators and school officials looking to maintain order in schools by other means.

New policies have been implemented by Fariña in an effort to lower suspension rates and 911 calls in city schools since she took office in January 2014.  She has focused on changing the discipline code, as well as conflict resolution training for school staff.

Meanwhile, eighth graders in a public elementary school in Queens, NY started a “fight club” for first-graders.  The students beat up those who refused to participate, writes Eva Moskowitz for The Wall Street Journal.

In order to discourage such activity, Mayor Bill de Blasio has suggested a disciplinary code promoting “restorative circles.”  The idea is explained as a “community process for supporting those in conflict [that] brings together the three parties to a conflict—those who have acted, those directly impacted and the wider community—within an intentional systemic context, to dialogue as equals.”

An additional strategy suggested is “collaborative problem solving,” which requires teachers to “articulate the adults’ concerns about the behavior and engage the student in a collaborative process,” and “decide upon a plan of action” that is “mutually acceptable to both.”

The new code would also end out-of-school suspensions that could be given out for up to five days.  Instead, principals would be asked to hand out in-school suspensions that give students “alternative instruction” while on school grounds.