California Law Enforcement: Too Many Students Kicked Out Before Kindergarten
Law enforcement leaders concerned suspensions and expulsions from early childhood programs pose future public safety risk
A surprising number of preschool students who are being suspended or expelled. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 6,500 3- and 4-year olds were suspended from public preschool during the 2013-14 school year, some of them more than once, and nearly 200 young children were permanently expelled from preschool. In California, 575 preschool children were suspended in 2011-2012 and 18 were expelled from public school-run preschool programs alone.
Children in public preschools are over three times more likely to be expelled than children in kindergarten through 12th grades.
Studies show children who are aggressive in preschool have higher delinquency rates in young adulthood.
“Those of us in law enforcement would certainly rather see troubled kids get some extra support now, rather than start down a path to further expulsions, bad behavior, and criminal activity,” said El Monte Police Chief David Reynoso.
Legislation recently approved by the California State Legislature and awaiting the Governor’s signature – AB 752 (Rubio) – would generally prohibit state preschool providers from expelling a child, except in narrow circumstances. Instead, it creates a process, modeled after federal Head Start guidelines, for addressing persistent and serious challenging behaviors.