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New York City plans to expand programs to keep students away from the criminal justice system

02.27.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | The programs are in keeping with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for less punitive approaches to school discipline, including “restorative” justice, and a plan to significantly reduce suspensions for the city’s youngest students. But some advocates said the new measures are too incremental and unlikely to make a significant dent in the number of students — disproportionately black or Hispanic — who are slapped with criminal offenses at school. “What the city is proposing to do is really minimal,” said Dawn Yuster, a student justice expert at Advocates for Children. She pointed out that school safety agents — who are posted in schools but employed by the NYPD — still have discretion to issue criminal summonses for what amount to schoolyard fights or minor drug violations, even in schools with the warning card program. Even doubling the number of schools covered by the policy would only cover a fraction of the city’s high school students, Yuster added. “If they wanted to make a big change, there’s no reason why they couldn’t expand the program to all schools.” Read article