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Groups rally against city school suspensions

Buffalo is making progress in cutting student suspensions but a statewide advocacy group says more needs to be done.

The district is trying to get away from suspensions for non-violent behavior.

Associate Superintendent Will Keresztes says suspensions are down over each of the last two years but African-American males are still suspended in numbers above their ranks in the school system.

He says schools are trying to do more within the buildings to cut suspensions.

Citizen Action and the Alliance for Quality Education say the district needs to go further to provide support and alternatives to suspension.

AQE Executive Director Billy Easton says better support and counselling of troubled students is the key.
"The evidence is that the policy is not working. This is not a policy that's reducing infractions of the discipline," Easton said.

"A positive step the district has taken is adding 11 social workers. That will do more to improve students behavior than suspending students."

Keresztes says some students have to be suspended but the district is moving to do more to find out why a student is misbehaving.

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.