This morning 45 Rochester parents, youth and advocates traveled to Albany to meet with legislators and advocate for passage of the Solutions Not Suspensions bill (S.1040). Organized by The Children’s Agenda, the group included members of their Very Invested Parents advocacy group, youth leaders from Teen Empowerment and faith leaders from ROC/Acts.
“Research indicates that suspensions don’t work,” said Eamonn Scanlon, Education Policy Director at The Children’s Agenda. “But effective alternatives exist. Sixteen states have already banned or significantly limited the suspension and expulsion of students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3. We think the time is now to take similar steps in New York. Our poll of Monroe County parents last year found 84% of parents support eliminating suspension in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 in all but the most extreme cases.”
In a report published by The Children’s Agenda last year, analysis of data from 15 school districts found that 15,306 students were suspended at least once in the 2021 – 2022 school year, resulting in 134,712 days of school lost to suspensions. The percentage of students suspended at least once that year ranged from 2% – 17% in those districts.
The report further found a pattern of disproportionate use of suspensions with Black and Hispanic students, students with disabilities, and students who are economically disadvantaged. In some districts, Black students were up to 5 times more likely to be suspended than white students, similarly for students with disabilities compared to their general education peers. Students who are economically disadvantaged were up to 4.5 times more likely to be suspended.
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.