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  • Rising Discipline Problems in Schools: Another Sign of Pandemic’s Toll

    Mar 20, 2024

    Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

    The New York Times – New York City schools are grappling with a spike in discipline problems among children, evidence that the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are having lingering effects, educators and experts say.

    Most of the misconduct involves lower-level disturbances that educators and advocates say show that many students are still having a hard time emotionally after the stress of the pandemic.

    “Most discipline incidences are not serious,” said Madeline Borrelli, a special-education teacher and member of Teachers Unite, an organization focused on ending “the school-to-prison pipeline.”

    She said schools with fewer resources, where teachers may be overwhelmed, may be relying on suspensions or calling in school safety agents “to respond to normal child behavior.”

    Rohini Singh, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children of New York, which has called for school safety reforms, said law enforcement still has an “outsize role” in school discipline.

    And racial disparities remain. Black pupils make up a quarter of the city’s public school population, but 40 percent of suspensions or classroom removals. Black students were involved in more than half of incidents in which the police intervened.