The Syracuse City School District has taken ‘significant steps’ over the last four years to improve its school discipline policies and practices, according to the New York State Office of the Attorney General. These steps have led the Office of the Attorney General to confirm the expiration of the Assurance of Discontinuance, implemented in 2014.
The Assurance of Discontinuance required the District to implement procedures and policies to ensure equal educational opportunity for all students, overseen by a State-approved Independent Monitor.
Since the agreement’s implementation in July 2014, the Syracuse City School District has crafted new protocols to provide clarity in the student discipline process and reduce out-of-school suspensions. It has provided staff training on Culturally Responsive and Restorative Practices and drafted procedures to investigate complaints about discipline practices. It has also offered new supports for families with regard to long-term suspension hearings.
These efforts have led to a 34 percent reduction in classroom referrals, a 40 percent reduction in the number of out of school suspensions and a 50 percent reduction in in-school suspensions from 2013-14 to 2017-18.
“For more than four years, we have worked extremely hard to not only comply with the Assurance of Discontinuance but also to ensure that all of our students are treated with equity and fairness,” Superintendent Jaime Alicea said. “While we have accomplished great progress and are proud of the work taking place, we also know that we still have areas upon which we can improve. We will continue to focus on these areas and reevaluate our policies and procedures until we see positive results for every demographic group and every student in our district.”
With the end of the Assurance of Discontinuance, the District will continue to independently monitor student behavior, modify policies as necessary and maintain the progress that has been made over the past four years.