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Push to end suspension in the early grades in Buffalo Public Schools

Posted at 12:43 AM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 00:43:03-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Parents, Buffalo Public School reps, and community leaders met Thursday night to talk about eliminating out of school suspensions for Pre-K to third graders in Buffalo Public Schools.

Duncan Kirkwood helped organize the meeting and said the overall goal is to get rid of out of school suspensions for all grades focusing on the early years is just the first step.

"We want to replace out of school suspensions, because it doesn't actually work, with restorative practices," he said.

That includes getting to the root of the problems, giving the child and family support, and having conferences with the family. He said 2,200 students in Buffalo Public Schools were suspended in the first three months of the school year, that's about 7% of the school population. More than a quarter of those students were in grades K-3.

Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, said he believes there needs to be interventions and restorative practices as well. He added, however, that teachers don't just suspend kids for the sake of suspending them.

Buffalo Public Schools say they don't suspend children in grades K-3 for non-violent offenses. There's also a policy to have parent conferences, instead of some suspensions, up through 6th grade. Parents at the meeting, however, said not every family can make a school meeting like that on short notice.

The group will be holding two more meetings on February 20th and March 28th.