NYC Council members, students demand change after report finds minorities are targeted more with suspension

NEW YORK — Both City council members and students say they were incensed but not surprised to learn about a recent report that highlights the gross racial disparities in suspensions at city schools.

Members with the Progressive Caucus and activists with the Urban Youth Collaborative gathered outside City Hall Tuesday demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza take action.

The report by the Independent Budget Office found that Black and Latino students in City schools are suspended at a higher rate and for longer periods of time for committing the same offenses as their peers.

“It’s painful to live in a city that treats black and brown kids like they deserve punishment like suspension more than white kids,” Council member Brad Lander said at Tuesday’s rally.

The IBO report also found that Black students received relatively longer suspensions on average for eight of the top 10 infractions that ranged from group violence to reckless behavior.

Suspension is something former student Darian Agostini knows all too well about.

“We were constantly surveilled, we were constantly policed and we were constantly pushed away in moments where we were the most vulnerable,” he said.

Agostini recalled being suspended for low-level offenses like wearing a cap in school.

Seventeen city council members have signed a letter with a list of demands to the mayor and schools chancellor which include implementing guidance interventions before suspension and shortening long term suspensions.

In a statement to PIX11, a spokesperson for the Department of Education says it plans to review the recommendations laid out by city council members.

The spokesperson added that the DOE has invested $47 million in school resources which has led to a 34 percent decrease in suspensions.