New America Foundation’s Ed Central blog recently shone a spotlight on communities that are working to reduce pre-K suspension rates. As in K-12, pre-K suspension affects young children of color at a much higher rate than their white counterparts. This is most unfortunate, as it puts suspended children further behind their peers and helps them form early negative opinions of school overall. Fortunately, some cities are taking steps to address the issue. For example, the District of Columbia has introduced legislation to prohibit pre-K suspension within public and charter schools in almost all cases. Minneapolis and Chicago have banned pre-suspensions, and in Baltimore, principals must first gain approval from central office before suspending a pre-K or kindergarten student.
“These are good steps, but they are not widespread enough,” the blog author Shayna Cook writes. “It is promising that some cities and districts are making strides in this area and creating policies to eliminate the use of suspension in pre-K and the early grades. More should follow their lead, and then take the next step of investing in greater access to early childhood mental health professionals.”