NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A scathing new report shows a discipline divide in New York City public schools.

Black students were found to be more likely to be suspended, and for longer periods of time, than their peers.

Local leaders and youth organizations called on the Department of Education to make a change across city schools after the study was released.

“Black students in NYC schools only account for 26 percent of the student population, but miraculously account for nearly half of the suspensions,” Malachi Davidson of the Urban Youth Collaborative said.

The report released by the New York City Independent Budget Office focused on the top 10 violations that caused suspensions from 2016-2017 in grades 6 through 12.

It found that black students were given harsher punishments for eight of the offenses.

For three of the categories – bullying, reckless behavior, and altercations – they were suspended for roughly double the number of days compared to students from other racial groups.

Report on public school suspensions from the New York City Independent Budget Office (Credit: CBS2)

“This is something we’ve been living with ever since elementary school,” Davidson told CBS2’s Reena Roy.

“It’s something we’re used to, something we’ve become accustomed to, and it’s something that ain’t right.”

For reckless behavior, the study claims black students were suspended for an average of 16 days. White students reportedly received 11 days and Asians received seven.

The report did show suspensions overall are down compared to years past, but local leaders want to see an even larger decrease. They asked the city to add more guidance counselors and peer mediators in schools.

“Instead of expelling them or suspending them the city should be guiding them,” Councilman Rory Lancman of the 24th District in Queens said.

“When you do things like suspend people without getting to core of issues and humanity of young people you’re not caring and you’re not nurturing a holistic environment,” Adilka Pimentel of the Urban Youth Collaborative added.

The group is also asking officials to shorten maximum suspension time. Right now, a long term suspension can last up to 180 days.


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