Tags: DC | expelling | third | graders

DC Schools Expel Thousands of Elementary Students

Monday, 13 Feb 2012 10:07 AM

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Washington, D.C.-area public schools have suspended thousands of elementary school students, some as young as four. The suspensions were for such things as disrespectful behavior, disrupting the class, and fighting and hitting, The Washington Post reported.

The Post analysis found that more than 6,112 elementary students, from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, in 13 of the Washington- area school districts were suspended or expelled last year. The total includes more than 50 pre-kindergartners, 433 kindergartners, 677 first-graders, 813 second-graders, and 1,086 third-graders.

Walter Gilliam, author of a national study on pre-kindergarten expulsions, said very young students have a hard time comprehending suspensions.

“We would never send a child home because that child was struggling at reading,” he told the Post. “We would never send a child home if that child was struggling with math. Why would we send a child home for struggling with social-emotional skills?”

School officials said they try to avoid suspensions of the very young and say they are rare and unavoidable. “To me a suspension is for something so unprovoked, or something so out of the norm, that I, as the adult, had no other option,” Judy Brubaker, principal at Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown, Md., told the Post.

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