NEW YORK CITY — Suspensions have dropped dramatically at city schools so far this school year, thanks to a new policy that increases the threshold for punishing kids by sending them home.
Just 16,068 students were suspended from September through December 2012, down from more than 25,000 over the same period in 2011 — a drop of more than 36 percent, new data released by the Department of Education show.
The drop comes following a change in disciplinary policy. As of September, "level 2 infractions" such as leaving class or school grounds without permission, no longer trigger automatic principal suspension.
“We have been working closely with schools to implement other disciplinary methods such as counseling, restorative approaches, and peer mediation. As a result, schools have continued to see improvements in school culture and environment," a DOE spokeswoman said in a statement.
The DOE also noted that major crime in schools dropped by 23 percent from July 1, 2012 through Jan. 6, 2013, versus the same period last year.
When suspensions were on the rise back in 2010, schools official argued they made schools safer.
“A safe and orderly learning environment is critical to our children’s academic success,” a DOE spokeswoman said at the time.