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City Suspended Fewer Students Last School Year, Officials Say

By Julie Shapiro | November 16, 2012 9:16pm
 Suspensions are down in the city's schools.
Suspensions are down in the city's schools.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

NEW YORK — The city is suspending fewer students, officials said in a report released Friday.

The number of students who were suspended has dropped about 5 percent, from 73,441 in the 2010-11 school year to 69,643 in 2011-12, the Department of Education said.

"A safe environment is a top priority, and we have worked with schools to address incidents before they escalate," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement. "This has helped to reduce suspensions overall."

However, Walcott acknowledged that minority students are still disproportionately likely to be suspended.

Black students make up just 28.1 percent of the total New York City student body, but they comprise more than half of the students who were suspended, officials said. In fact, the percentage of suspended students who were black rose from 51.8 percent in 2010-11 to 52.8 percent in 2011-12, officials said.

"We also are looking into the disparities in the numbers among race and ethnicity," Walcott said. "This is a national problem, and in our schools, we have implemented a pilot as part of the Young Men’s Initiative to reinforce positive behavior through coaching and problem solving. We have more work to do but we are headed in the right direction.”

Special education students were also more likely to be suspended than other groups.

While children with IEPs (individualized education plans) make up 12 percent of the student body, they comprise 32.6 percent of the students who were suspended, officials said.