Buffalo Students Suspended Every 3 Minutes

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY
The Buffalo Public School System suspended 18,000 students last year and the community is doing the math.

"18,000 suspensions divided by 180 school days, divided by six hours a day means that in this district we suspend somebody every three minutes of every single hour of every single school day," said Sherry Byrnes with the Alliance for Quality Education.

The day 15 year old Jawaan Daniels was suspended from Lafayette High School for wandering the halls he was shot and killed at a bus stop on his way home.

That was 19 months ago and residents have been urging the school board to do away with its out of school suspension policy for non-violent offenses.

Instead, parents and community leaders want to see an in-school suspension program that offers students counseling and way to keep up with their school work.

And there were harsh words for board members who have yet to change the suspension policy.

"I consider you all murderers, and not for Jawaan Daniels but for the kids who have been expelled, whose lives have been destroyed because they went to prison after being repeatedly suspended and then expelled," said John Washington.

Interim superintendent Amber Dixon wants people to know the board is working to reduce suspensions. They've been holding public meetings, looking at suspension models in other cities, and administrators have prepared proposals to present to the board at their next meeting.

"There was a common theme throughout everyone we talked to and it has to do with eventually preventing these behaviors supporting a child as opposed to punishing. Our timelines may be different but our hearts are in the same place," said Dixon.

There are 11 proposals being vetted by the Board's counsel. The proposals will be presented to the board on Wednesday.