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Buffalo Schools asked to change suspension policy

Citizen Action
WBFO News photo
Citizen Action

By Eileen Buckley


Buffalo, NY – Citizen Action and Alliance for Quality Education are calling on the Buffalo Public Schools to stop its out-of-school suspension policy for non-violent criminal activities.

The organizations were joined by parents and some teachers outside Lafayette High School Tuesday.

Citizen Action released a report on student suspensions. Former state senator Antoine Thompson complied the suspension report. It found that 1 of every 4 students in Buffalo received suspensions, four times the state average.

Thompson calls the rate in some Buffalo elementary schools tragic.

"In the early grades, 20% of the kids are suspended in kindergartner, first, second and third grade, and I've asked so many people, what must a kid do to get suspended in kindergarten, first, second and third grade at 20%? I just don't understand. I just don't understand," said Thompson.

Jim Anderson is with Citizen Action. He said they recommend the District give students in-school suspensions for non-criminal activities such as tardiness or talking back.

"It does not help our children if the only thing we can offer them is punitive examples and methodologies rather than us stepping up and doing what we can to provide the support. We know they need. It's not a question of do they need it, we know that they need it and we know the traditional paradigms are failing in this situation right now," said Jim Anderson.

The report released by Citizen Action found that in 2008, 25% of city school students had been suspended. That number went down slightly in 2009 to 19%.