Safety with Dignity
Safety with Dignity details policy recommendations made by the Mayor’s LeadershipTeam on School Climate and Discipline (“Leadership Team”). The Leadership Team is a one-year task force that was launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2015 with the mission of developing recommendations to enhance the well-being and safety ofstudents and staff in the City’s public schools, while minimizing the use of suspensions, arrests and summonses. Co-chaired by Ursulina Ramirez, Chief of Staff, NYC Department of Education and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Advisor, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Leadership Team was charged with the task of examining data and studying best practices in order to:
- Improve the use of data to assess the effectiveness of current policy and practice, and spread promising positive discipline innovations system-wide;
- Reduce the frequency and duration of suspensions and minimize arrests and referrals to the justice system for school-based disciplinary offenses;
- Reduce disparities by race, gender, disability and Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) status in student discipline, arrests and summonses;
- Increase access to mental health and other community-based supports for high- need students; and
- Update the Discipline Code and the Memorandum of Understanding between the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Department of Education (DOE) to align the use of school discipline and security personnel and security measures with supportive school climate goals.To meet its objectives, the Leadership Team developed five Working Groups that involved more than 150 stakeholders, including representatives from city agencies, community organizations, and unions, as well as researchers, practitioners, educators, students and parents.Over the past five months, these Working Groups convened to define a vision and system-wide approach to positive climate, discipline and safety in schools, as well as to develop targeted initiatives to assist schools with high rates of suspensions, arrests and summonses – and high disparities in those areas – to improve their practices.
Recommendations were developed from this Phase I of deliberations, and are proposed for consideration by the Mayor, DOE Chancellor, Police Commissioner and other relevant entities. A second report will be prepared in the fall (Phase II) that examineshow to align existing policy to this new vision and approach, including revising the City’sschool discipline code as well as the memorandum of understanding between NYPD and DOE.