Who We Serve

Students Facing Disciplinary Issues

Students Facing Disciplinary Issues

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) has 40 years of experience assisting students who are being removed from school for disciplinary reasons. When a student is facing a school suspension or expulsion, AFC works to ensure the student’s rights are not violated. We work with the family to resolve the situation positively, help them understand their options, provide assistance with mediation and free legal representation at school hearings, and ensure the student receives alternative instruction during the period of suspension.  We also advocate for positive alternatives, such as using behavior modification techniques rather than having the student removed from school for an extended period of time.

Guides & Resources

Note: The following resources are in PDF format and will open in a new window. To view PDF files, download the following free software: Get Adobe® Reader®.


Did You Know?

►  In NYC, students with disabilities are four times more likely to be suspended than students without disabilities.

►  Students who are suspended or expelled are six times more likely to be held back one grade, and five times more likely to drop out than their peers.

►  Punitive discipline, such as suspension and expulsion, disproportionately targets students of color, students with disabilities, and gay and lesbian students.

Policy Work

We play a leadership role in numerous coalitions and task forces in New York City addressing discipline reform and educational services for ALL youth, including the School-Justice Partnership Taskforce, chaired by the former Chief Judge of New York State, Judith Kaye.  AFC worked with Judge Kaye and the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children to launch the Task Force and continues to help coordinate the project.  The Task Force brought together key stakeholders and experts from a variety of disciplines to coordinate efforts and develop recommendations to promote school engagement and reduce the flow of New York City students entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems. On May 30, 2013, the Task Force released a report, Keeping Kids in School and out of Court [PDF]. The report outlines a plan of action  as well as provides specific recommendations to keep kids in school and out of court.

AFC also advocates for systemic reform with respect to school discipline and the role of New York Police Department personnel in schools. AFC is a co-founder and steering committee member of The Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY), a coalition of students, parents, advocates and educators calling for positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve school climate and increase learning.  Our goal is to create safe and supportive school climates in all New York City public schools without the need for school police or metal detectors, where young people are not suspended and removed from class, and where teachers and students have training and support to prevent and resolve conflicts in positive ways.


Advocates for Children of New York filed a complaint with the New York State Education Department against the NYC Department of Education (DOE) for its failure to provide students with disabilities necessary behavioral supports as mandated by law. Providing these supports has been shown to decrease behaviors that often result in removing students from the classroom and/or suspending students.

Read the complaint.

Read the press release [PDF].