Letter: Safer Schools (New York Daily News)
By Donna Lieberman
We were disappointed to see the Daily News take the bait dangled by a misleading Manhattan Institute study on suspensions and school climate in New York City (“Schools out of Order,” editorial, March 15). There are many reasons why perceptions of school climate could change from year to year, but the study doesn’t even attempt to prove that these variations are a result of fewer suspensions. Indeed, both the report and the editorial ignore NYPD data that schools are safer now than they were three years ago. Does anyone think kicking kids out of school makes for a better, more nurturing and supportive school environment? Suspensions, even for minor misbehavior, can make it harder for students to graduate and can increase the chances that children will wind up behind bars. Rather than making schools safer, they make it harder for children to succeed. And those who suffer most are children of color and children with special needs. If there is an increasing dissatisfaction with school climate, that is significant and should be addressed by making discipline and problem-solving a part of the educational process and giving teachers the resources they need to do so. But make no mistake, the 30% drop in suspensions under de Blasio is a welcome and much-needed change for students.