Lawmakers push bill that would make schools more “supportive”

Originally published in The Legislative Gazette on June 21, 2017.

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery says “It is no longer a secret that the excessive use of suspensions create a direct path to the criminal justice system and that they are disproportionately used to discipline black and brown children. The school-to-prison pipeline must be dismantled.”

A group of lawmakers have been pushing legislation that would end some of the harsher disciplinary practices in public schools in order to make school environments more supportive.

On June 6, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, D-Queens; Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn; and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, D-Brooklyn, held a press conference to urge lawmakers to support their legislation.

At the press conference, youth leaders from the Urban Youth Collaborative and Make the Road New York spoke passionately about the subject of school discipline.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Supportive Schools Coalition, which includes groups such as the NYCLU, Legal Aid Society, Citizen Action of New York, and the Alliance for Quality Education.

The Judge Judith Kaye Safe and Supportive Schools bill (S.3036-a/A.3873), if passed, would end suspensions for students in kindergarten through third grade; cap long term suspensions at 20 days instead of 180 days; and promote the importance of positive interventions like restorative justice.

To read the full story, visit http://legislativegazette.com/archives/5826

To learn more about Senator Montgomery's School Suspension bill, visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/S3036/amendment/A

To learn more about the Coalition working to pass the School Suspension bill and develop comprehensive reforms to the school discipline system, visit http://www.aqeny.org/campaigns/solutions-not-suspensions/

For more information about the Coalition partners and their work, visit http://www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Coalition-Partners-v4.pdf