Buffalo Parents Demand Out of School Suspensions End

August 30, 2011 Updated Aug 30, 2011 at 6:44 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

August 30, 2011 Updated Aug 30, 2011 at 6:44 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY - With school starting in just over a week, some Buffalo Public School Parents are demanding the end of out of school suspensions for non violent offenses. Parents, students, and educators gathered on the steps of Lafayette High School Tuesday and called on the district to change its policies. Last year, 15-year-old Jawaan Daniels was suspended from Lafayette High School for loitering. Hours later he was gunned down at a bus stop. Since Daniels' death, the district has implemented new policies including a parental conference in lieu of suspension. This policy allows parents to intervene in a students misbehavior. The district also says it uses a Positive Behavior Initiative and Support Program,(PBIS), which helps create a support system for students.
According to the New York State Education Department, the number of students suspended in the 2009-2010 school year were 6,635. In the 2008-2009 school year 8,042 were suspended. The district believes these two initiatives have been successful in the district.

"They suspend these children for ridiculous reasons. I guess they don't want to be bothered with them," said Parent Bobbi Lee. "It's ridiculous and these children should have a proper education not sitting at home during school hours."

Tuesday's rally was organized by the Citizen Action of New York and members hope the district adopts an alternative that will keep students in school. The district says many times out of school suspensions are a last resort and those non-violent offenses could relate to something dangerous such as drugs or alcohol.