Tracking Suspensions in New York City Public Schools, 2006 to 2017

The Data Collaborative for Justice is pleased to publish this report, Tracking Suspensions in New York City Public Schools, 2006 to 2017.  This report examines trends in the number and rate of suspensions from 2006-07 to 2016-17. Further, for the 2016-17 school year, this report assesses: (1) the use of multiple suspensions for individual students; (2) the number of suspensions by conduct/behavior; (3) the average number of days per suspension by conduct/behavior; and (4) how disciplinary actions vary in response to similar conduct/behaviors. The report disaggregates analyses by grade, race and ethnicity, and disability status.

Key Findings from the Report include:

  • Suspension Rates Overall: While suspensions on the whole fluctuated, and ultimately declined by 39.4 percent, over the study period (2006-07 through 2016-17 school years), the timing and magnitude of the changes varied by grade, race and ethnicity, and disability status.
  • Suspension Rates by Grade: There was a sharper decline in suspension rates for middle school students (~50% decline across grades 6 through 8) than for high school students (approximately ~20% across grades 9 through 12).
  • Suspension Rates and Race: Over the course of the study period, Black students consistently had the highest suspension rates, followed by Hispanic, White, and Asian students in middle and high school.
    • While students of all racial/ethnic groups experienced declines in rates of suspension, White students experienced the greatest decline (~42% decline) compared to Black (~33% decline), Hispanic (~37% decline) and Asian students (~31%).
    • In 2016-17, the suspension rate for Black students in middle and high school was 2.8 times the rate for White students.
    • In 2016-17, Black students were more likely to have multiple suspensions and were more likely to receive more serious and longer suspensions for aggressive and injurious/harmful behaviors.
  • Suspension Rates and Disability Status: Over the course of the study period, students with a disability status (i.e., students with an Individualized Education Plan or “IEP”) and students without disability status experienced declines in rates of suspension – ~40% and ~45% respectively. Nonetheless, students with a disability status were consistently suspended at higher rates compared to students without a disability status.
    • In 2016-17, the suspension rate for students with a disability was 2.1 times higher than for students without a disability in middle and high school.
    • In 2016-17, students with a disability status were more likely to have multiple suspensions and longer suspensions compared to students without a disability status in middle and high school.