A Plan to Create Safer New York City Schools with Fewer Arrests, Suspensions, and Summonses

cover of Maintaining the Momentum A plan for Safety and Fairness In Schools July 2016 report

Students learn best when they feel safe, challenged, and respected. Maintaining the Momentum presents the second and final set of policy recommendations from the Mayor's Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline. Following the release of Safety with Dignity in July 2015, the Leadership Team convened again to examine how best to align existing policy with the new vision and approach to promote positive discipline and safety in schools. From February 2015 through February 2016, members studied best practices in schools throughout the City, as well as those employed by other jurisdictions across the nation. These deliberations produced a second and final set of recommendations that are intended to accelerate the implementation of effective reform.

Read the executive summary and full report on the recommendations

These recommendations were proposed in July 2016 to be considered by the Mayor, Department of Education Chancellor, Police Commissioner, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and other relevant individuals.

Expanding a Positive Trend: Safer Schools, with Fewer Student Suspensions

After a 63% increase in school suspensions between 2000 and 2010, the de Blasio administration has made a concerted effort to both promote school safety and reduce overly punitive school discipline. This effort has worked: citywide, schools are becoming safer and suspensions are declining.

To date, the de Blasio Administration school climate reforms — supported with more than $47 million annually in funding over the next four years — have improved safety in schools while using school discipline methods that are fairer and more effective:

  • Declines in both school-based crime and suspensions. Suspensions dropped 32 percent in the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year compared to the same time period in the 2014-2015 school year. Simultaneously, overall crime in schools dropped 8%, showing that it is it possible to have both more safety and less enforcement.
  • Improved fairness in suspension process. The decline in overall suspensions has been driven in large part by a decline in suspensions for insubordination, historically a major factor in racial disparities in suspensions. Insubordination suspensions fell 81 percent during the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year compared to the same time period last year.

The strategy announced today calls for both system-wide improvements to continue positive citywide trends, as well as concentrated resources to reduce disparities and better support high-need schools and students.

Read the complete report for more on the Leadership Team's proposed strategy