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Groups call for more change in school suspensions


School activists say they are closer to major changes in Buffalo's student suspension system to keep students learning even if suspended.

School administrators admit the present system doesn't work well, especially when it involves sending a student home when suspended for a non-violent offense.

One student made it as far as the school bus stop where he was gunned down in a dispute he wasn't involved in.

The district has a plan to change the system and put most suspended students in a classroom in the building away from the regular classroom.

Last night, activists from Citizen Action and the Alliance for Quality Education met to continue their push for change.

Sherry Byrnes is a former school board member and leader of both groups.

Byrnes says the system must let students learn no matter how badly they behave.

A teacher's job is to teach and they want to be in a classroom and they want their kids to succeed.

This is not a blame the teachers type of situation," Byrnes said. 

"But we have to find appropriate ways to respond that help that child to grow and help that child at learning."

Activists say the district just doesn't have the support to figure out why a student misbehaves and do something about it, a problem administrators recognize.



Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.