Nearly two years ago, Jawaan Daniels was shot and killed waiting for the bus to go home after he was suspended from his Buffalo school for walking the hallways. Since the summer of 2011, Citizen Action of New York and the Alliance for Quality Education along with other community groups have been pushing the Board of Education to make changes to the district’s dangerous and ineffective out-of-school suspension policy. Buffalo currently has the highest suspension rates in the state and this policy unfairly targets people of color. Because of our efforts, we’ve made significant changes but we’re not there yet. Here is an update from Brian Trzeciak, our education organizer in Buffalo:
On March 29th, CANY/AQE hosted a large Community Meeting on Suspension Reform at the Delavan-Grider Center on the east side of Buffalo. The community gathered to hear speakers from Citizen Action of New York, the Alliance for Quality Education, and the Partnership for Public Good, as well as Stephon Wright, the Student Representative on the Board of Education. We were also joined by four members of the Board of Education. It was a great evening of discussion, as Jim Freeman, a Senior Attorney from Advancement Project, a next-generation civil rights organization in Washington, DC, gave a presentation about the national issue on suspension and the situation we have in Buffalo. Black and Latino students are still disproportionately facing more suspension than White students in the Buffalo City School District as well as nationwide, and this needs to stop. We are still fighting to end out-of-school suspension for non-violent incidents. And working together with the community and the Board of Education, we will see a change in policy soon.