BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Parents in Buffalo have been speaking out for years about the district's strict suspension policy and the district is finally responding.
In 2010, high school freshman J'Waan Daniels was shot and killed at a bus stop just an hour after being suspended from school for loitering in the hallways. His death sparked a movement among parents in Buffalo, calling on the district to revise its code of conduct.
On Tuesday, cheers rang out over the long- and hard-fought victory over the Buffalo Public Schools' suspension policies. After two years of almost constant community pressure, the school board approved a new Student Code of Conduct.
Sherry Byrnes of the Alliance for Quality Education said, "Our children matter to us. The new Code of Conduct is the clearest statement we could make."
Reformers have been on a crusade to end out-of-school suspensions, which they say deprive students of their education, especially young black males, who make up 72 percent of all students suspended.
Dr. Sue Gillick, a board member of Citizen Action of WNY, said, "You have to be in school to learn. Out-of-school suspensions only result in loss of learning time, and the potential for a child returning to the classroom angrier than before."
Students who are repeatedly suspended fall behind academically, and are at greater risk of not graduating, and tumbling into a life of crime. Advocates call it "the school-to-prison pipeline."
Staff attorney for The Advancement Project Jason Sinocruz said, "The new code will help keep students safe and address student misbehavior, while keeping these students on the pathway to success, not the pathway to prison."
There will be no more suspensions for minor disruptions on the school bus, wandering the halls or dress code violations. Students won't be automatically suspended for fights; instead, school social workers will try to help them resolve their conflicts.
Associate Superintendent for Educational Services Dr. Will Keresztes said, "After two years of working diligently we have reached a point, with our community stakeholders, of real success. And this is going to have a huge impact on students."
100 Black Men of Greater Buffalo President James Payne added, "J'Waan Daniels' death was not in vain. J'Waan Daniels' death was associated with transforming and changing the situation in the City of Buffalo, New York."
Sinocruz called Buffalo's new Code of Conduct "one of the most progressive in the country," and suggested it could become a model for other districts.
An eight-year-old boy was shot Thursday morning in Cattaraugus County. Officials are at the scene on West Road, in Leon.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Viewers sent in photos from the snowfall around Western New York.