Education

D.C. Considers Halt on Pre-K Suspensions in Charter, Traditional Schools

By Arianna Prothero — July 15, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

By Evie Blad. Cross-posted from the Rules for Engagement blog.

A Washington, D.C., council member plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit the city’s charter schools and traditional public schools from suspending or expelling prekindergarten students in most situations, The Washington Post reported.

Like many states and districts around the country, Washington is considering how to rework a range of its discipline policies to address disparities and to reduce out-of-class time. Washington’s traditional and

charter schools suspended prekindergarten students 181 times and had no expulsions in the 2012-13 school year, according to a report prepared by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. While that’s fewer out-of-school suspensions than any other grade saw, some public officials think that even limited classroom removal is inappropriate for such young students.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-12 school year is the first to track such discipline rates for pre-k students. Here’s how an Education Week story described a sampling of the national data that Secretary Arne Duncan called “mind boggling.”

The Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-12 school year shows that more than 8,000 public preschoolers were suspended at least once, with black children and boys bearing the brunt of the discipline. Black youngsters make up about a fifth of all preschool pupils but close to half the children suspended more than once. Boys of all races represent 54 percent of the preschoolers included in the report but more than 80 percent of those suspended more than once."

In D.C., pre-K children have been suspended for “temper tantrums, classroom disruption, repeated vulgarity, and bathroom mishaps,” according to the Post report. While the city’s traditional public schools recently banned preschool suspensions, its charter schools typically set their own disciplinary policies. The proposed bill would only allow suspensions for the youngest students if students causes “‘serious bodily harm’ or possess drugs, alcohol or a weapon.”

The Post article quotes the leader of AppleTree Early Learning, a network of seven charter schools, which had 81 pre-K suspensions in 2012-13.

Jack McCarthy, AppleTree's executive director, said OSSE's data includes students who were sent home early, often because they had done something to create a safety concern such as biting another child or other violence ... Scott Pearson, the executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board, said prohibiting early-childhood suspensions is an 'idea worth further discussion' but said that discussion must include school leaders who can explain why they have sometimes needed to suspend or expel a very young child. Some schools have encountered young students who are violent, posing a safety issue, while others use suspension to send a message to the parent of a child who is habitually tardy, Pearson said."

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP