Mayor de Blasio today announced a roadmap to improve the climate in New York City public schools and end overly punitive school discipline policies that push students out of school, increase drop-out rates and unfairly impact students of color and those with special needs. The roadmap includes providing additional training for police officers in how to de-escalate school conflicts, expanding access to behavioral health treatment options in high needs schools, clarifying areas where school discipline can be addressed without law enforcement, and increasing training and support for school personnel in positive supports and non-punitive discipline methods. The roadmap is based on recommendations developed by the Mayor’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline, a team which includes New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
The following statement is attributable to Lieberman:
“As we saw in South Carolina, police street tactics have no place in school discipline, and can escalate a minor incident into a terrifying ordeal. Today's reforms from the Mayor's Leadership Team represent concrete progress toward making city schools safe, nurturing and thriving. Public schools should be a place where discipline is an educational matter designed to teach children the skills and values that will help them succeed -- not a vehicle for discrimination and excess that widens the achievement gap and pushes vulnerable children out of school. The NYCLU will continue working with the Leadership Team to press for systemic reforms that ensure fairness, equity and a safe learning environment for all children.”