Letter to Philadelphia School District and School Reform Commission Requesting Ban on Suspensions of Elementary-Aged Students

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Despite prohibiting the suspension of Kindergarten students, the School District of Philadelphia continues to suspend students in first through fifth grades at alarming rates. According to Pennsylvania’s most recent Safe Schools Report, the District meted out 615 suspensions to Kindergarteners, 1081 to first graders, 1779 to second graders, 2192 to third graders, 2295 to fourth graders, and 2260 to fifth graders during the 2015-16 school year. As many of these suspensions are likely longer than one day, this means that elementary-aged students missed well over 10,000 days of school due to suspension. Worse, the District disproportionately suspends Black students, even though Black students are not more prone to misbehavior. Similarly, the District disproportionately suspends students with disabilities as compared to their peers without disabilities. This letter, sent April 24, 2017, was cosigned by Youth United for Change, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, One Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym, the Caucus of Working Educations of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Parents United for Public Education, and PhillySUN.

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