Since expelling students is difficult in New York City, Success charters drive parents to withdraw their children. The suspension rates are reported to be between 4 and 23 percent at least once. Most schools suspend at least ten percent while public schools have a three percent suspension rate within a school year. Suspensions start as early as kindergarten.
The charters use other strategies to encourage some parents to withdraw children who find it difficult to adapt to rigid rules. Schools repeatedly call parents to pick up their children early. They may be counseled that the school is not a ‘good fit’ for their child. Staff may tell parents that students needed special education that the school could not provide. Some schools use 911 calls as a threat for children who misbehaves. One mother whose child was on the list said she did not know about it. She said, “He doesn’t hit kids, he doesn’t knock kids over, he doesn’t scream, he just talks too much.”
This whole notion that parents should be able to choose schools that ‘fit their children’ has serious consequences. The whole idea of a school where some children do not belong does not sound like a ‘public’ school. When schools become exclusionary communities, the sense of community is lost. With that loss, the problem is not contained just in a school.