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Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

  • 1.  Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-21-2019 09:36 AM

    We're are diving in at the new Black Caucus Discussion Group. Here is one of our topics. Please share on this thread your thoughts.

    "Every year, as many as 8,710 3- and 4-year-old children may be expelled from or pushed out of their state-funded preschool or prekindergarten classroom. A disproportionate number of these children are African American boys and girls, and these early childhood expulsions are happening at a rate more than three times that of their older peers in grades K–12. In child care centers, expulsion rates are 13 times what they are in K–12 classrooms, with as many as 39 percent of child care providers reporting at least one expulsion in the past year" (NAEYC,n.d.).

    What are your states, jurisdictions, and territories doing to reduce and prevent preschool suspension and expulsion? Share any resources you may have.

    Tonya Satchell
    Columbia MD

  • 2.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-22-2019 07:57 PM
    This April 2019 article from National Conference of State Legislatures includes recent data and links to the 16 states and Washington DC with policies in place for P-3.
    Of note in the article is that private child care expels at more than four times the rate of public preschool or Head Start. 

    Kyra Ostendorf
    Free Spirit Publishing
    Minneapolis MN

  • 3.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-23-2019 01:27 PM
    This is a timely topic as more suburban districts in NJ receive funds from the preschool expansion grant.  Read the National Black Child Development Institute's report on the topic.

    Michelle Brown-Grant
    Assistant Professor
    Felician University
    Teaneck NJ

  • 4.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-24-2019 02:28 PM
    Hi Michelle. Thank you! I have the NBCDI's publication listed in our resource section. You are right that it's a timely topic. Does NJ have any guidance, supports, or recommendations for child care providers with regard to this topic?

    Tonya Satchell
    Columbia MD

  • 5.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-24-2019 12:15 PM
    I will see what Bakersfield is doing and California in particular about that.  I am also wondering how many of those children are either autistic or children of color.

    Cynthia Hufnagel
    Bakersfield CA

  • 6.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-24-2019 02:35 PM
    Hi Cynthia,
    Yes, please share what Bakersfield is doing if you can. Here is our state's guidance for providers (but it is just guidance): (bottom of the page in the blue box). I think we all should share what our jurisdictions are doing so we can learn from each other.

    And the research does show the children of color are disproportionally suspended/expelled.  I don't know of the research on children with on the Spectrum but you may be right. The only caution here is that children on the Spectrum are eligible for a host of services and supports whereas simply having brown skin does not. So if more children of color are being expelled and suspended, we have to ask ourselves why and what supports are needed for the children, the families, and the child care provider to reduce or prevent this from happening.

    Tonya Satchell
    Columbia MD

  • 7.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-25-2019 06:36 AM
    You raise a very important but consistently avoided topic of conversation: if more children of color are being expelled and suspended, we have to ask ourselves why and what supports are needed for the children, the families, and the child care provider to reduce or prevent this from happening.

    Thank you!

    Edward Greene
    Princeton NJ

  • 8.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-24-2019 01:24 PM
    I teach Special Ed Preschool  in a public school setting and I have found that private as well as other preschool centers are not equip to handle children with severe behaviors. The teachers do not have the education or the training to do that. They feel bad that they are not able to handle those children however they are not alone. Many reg. preschool centers are not fully trained to handle such situations that may come up. Also parents are not able to have their special needs children in those centers as they are rejected before they even start. It is a hard situation. Some take them and then the child sits all alone as they are not going to interact as they see the child getting upset so their way of dealing with it, is to just leave the child alone and without interactions as it keeps the peace which is not the solution either. The parent thinks the child is doing well in that setting but in reality is not getting any interactions due to explosive behavior if they do. So who gets left behind but the child instead of getting the teachers training. Also the people who run the centers at the top will tell you " we are not equip to handle this so we do the best we can.
    We need more training for everyone so that children are getting their needs met everywhere.

    Lori Mertes
    Special Education Preschool Teacher
    Fairbanks AK

  • 9.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 06-24-2019 02:43 PM
    Hi Lori,
    I agree that our teachers often don't have the support to do what they know is best for all of the children in their classrooms. Have you seen any supports that work in AK? Are you seeing more children with "severe behaviors" now as compared to earlier in your career? I'm wondering if this issue has always been there but we haven't talked about it OR if there is an increase in the number of children suspended/expelled. Do you feel that most of the children you have in your program belong in a special education setting or could they be successful in a traditional setting (assuming the teachers had adequate training and support)?

    Tonya Satchell
    Columbia MD

  • 10.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 07-16-2019 07:48 PM
    I wanted to respond to your comment. I teach in a small, nonprofit preschool and we have had some behavior problems and sought extra training to help us handle them from resources in our local Great Start Collaborative.  That said, unlike Head Start/GSRP we don't have access to in-house services for children with special needs.  We are not trained special educators, and we do not have the budget or staffing to always meet diverse individual needs, especially if a child needs one-on-one support.  We try our best, and we have made it our policy to work with the family and help them reach out for community services as part of our RTI process.  Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do.  I feel that behavior training on the part of the staff is the most valuable asset in helping children develop self-regulation, but I also think sometimes staff's biases (especially regarding children of color and diverse cultural norms) contribute greatly to the discipline and expulsion policies in the early childhood community.  From this perspective, communication is the most valuable asset in this situation; this includes communication between teachers and administration, open and frequent communication with families, and regular communication of and understanding of the child's feelings and needs.  I think, likely, there was always an issue with young children but the expectations are changing, less focus on play and more focus on academics.  Also, more children are in daycares and preschools, and we lack the supports to meet this influx of children receiving care outside the home and their diverse needs in terms of community partnerships and open dialogues.

    Stephanie Gessford
    Licensing Director
    Learning Tree Cooperative Preschool
    Midland MI

  • 11.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 07-18-2019 08:46 AM
    Good morning,
      I have a been a preschool director for 2 years, before that I taught Head Start for 3 years and have worked in a variety of preschool classrooms over a 10 year period. As a director, I have had to let go 2 children in 2 years. Those children would spend the majority of their days in the office "calming down" as they became aggressive towards teachers and/or other children and even myself at times . The owner became increasingly frustrated over time as he felt that I could not do my job properly  as I was constantly trying to tend to these behaviors.

    There is a group here in Hamilton county that has been working toward this issue, I have attended several meetings of discussion on the topic.

    There is also something here called Child Care Answers which provides an inclusion specialist that will come in and observe and work with teachers AND parents. The problem is it can be months before she is available.

    When parents are not compliant, this can also be difficult. Of the 2 children we asked to leave our facility - the first one had been asked to leave another facility and now has a nanny and attends a developmental preschool 1/2 day. The other attends a preschool with smaller ratios 1/2 day and a developmental preschool the other 1/2.

    I think more training for preschool teachers would be excellent - but I'm not sure that would even solve this issue. I would love to have a licensed therapist in house - but we all know there isn't funding for that in a small private preschool - we only have 21 employees. Also in children so young, of course we WANT to meet their needs, but the majority of the time they are to young to officially diagnose so it also takes a lot of time and trial and error to figure out what exactly those needs are.

    Yes our teachers need more training and support - but so do directors! WE NEED MORE RESOURCES!!

    Corinne Baker
    Stony Creek Early Learning Center
    Noblesville IN

  • 12.  RE: Preschool Suspensions and Expulsions

    Posted 07-19-2019 04:16 PM
    I hear your concern both for the children and the teachers.  It is a tough situation.  I feel for you, the children, and the parents in this situation.  You wrote that both of the children you expelled ended up going to developmental preschools so it sounds like they did have some special needs and are now in settings that will support them, which is great.

    You write that the majority of children in your care are too young to officially diagnose.  I wonder if that's true.  My program supports several 2, 3, and 4 year olds who have received diagnoses.  If a child is under 3 and you suspect that they have a developmental delay of any kind suggest to their parents that they call your local Early Intervention program.  You can even refer a child yourself, with parental permission and their services are free.  And you might want to check to see if there are any Early Childhood Mental Health Consulting services in your area.  it sounds like the Inclusion Specialist that you wrote about may do similar work.

    Thank you for your dedication--working with children who are having difficulties is challenging for everyone.

    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA