Charter schools represent 7% of New York City’s school population but 42% of all student suspensions. Of the top 50 schools with high suspension rates, 48 were charters. These schools are clustered in the heart of black communities in Harlem, Crown Heights, Brownsville and Brooklyn. The problem extends far beyond New York. Parents are pushing back.
Similar suspension patterns occur in Boston, Washington D.C. and other cities according to this City Lab article originally published in the Atlantic. There is even a lawsuit against Success Charters.
Each suspension counted a different child, not one child suspended multiple times. Many were in kindergarten and suspended for things like not having his/her shirt tucked in. In some schools there is a demerit system in which ten demerits automatically results in suspensions. A child closing his/her eyes receives two demerits. Leaning against a wall, one demerit. In such a system with little children, it does not take long to reach a count of ten.
Julian Vasquez Heilig, a professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at California State College in Sacramento and the NAACP Education Chair in California is quoted as saying: …it is just a continuation of the legacy of structural racism in this country.