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Early Childhood & Discipline

School-to-prison pipeline issues impacting students from pre-k to elementary school and efforts to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline on these students 


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District Policies​​

  • Philadelphia School District ends suspensions from kindergarten through second grade. June 21, 2018. Kindergarten, first, and second grade students shall not be suspended from school unless their actions result in serious bodily injury. See new policy, administrative procedurespress release. and article.

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools revises student discipline policy for pre-K through second grade, December 20, 2017. Effective September 1, 2018, the district prohibits the out of school suspension of students in grades prior to the third grade for non-violent minor disciplinary infractions, as defined by the district. See article.

  • Austin Texas Independent School District revises student discipline for pre-K through second grade, February 27, 2017. No elementary student prior to third grade shall be home suspended, placed into a disciplinary alternative education program or expelled, unless when required by law or for behavior that represents a clear and present danger of physical injury to the student, other students or school personnel. Principals and teachers must also consult parents or guardians prior to a home suspension. The district will provide additional staff to support schools in their efforts to address discipline challenges and student behavior and provide professional development to school officials to create a “responsive and supportive learning environment.”

  • Dallas Texas Independent School District revises discipline policy for students in pre-K–2nd grade. February 23, 2017. Beginning in the Fall of 2017, students in pre-K–2nd grade who commit Level 1 offenses — the lowest-level infractions such as classroom disruption and bus misconduct — will not receive out-of-school suspensions. Level 2 and 3 offenses – such as fighting and bullying – can still be punishable with out-of-school suspensions. School staff will receive ongoing training on behavior management practices that increase a positive school climate and deescalate disciplinary challenges. The District shall use disaggregated disciplinary data to inform actions that identify inequities and reduce student discretionary suspensions with the goal to eliminate such suspensions by the 2022-23 school year except as required by law. The District will also identify the top third of elementary schools with the highest percentage of disciplinary actions that need additional support, and annually report on student disciplinary data to the board.

  • Seattle (Washington) School District, resolution No. 2014/15-35. Effective with the 2015-16 school year, eliminates out-of-school suspensions for students kindergarten through 5th grade for “disruptive conduct,” “rule breaking,” or “disobedience.” The policy directs the superintendent to develop a proposal by June 2016 for a district-wide reduction in out-of-school suspensions at all grade levels, paying special attention to disproportionality in discipline for students of color, Special Education, and English Language Learners.

  • Minneapolis Public Schools introduces moratorium on elementary suspensions for Nonviolence. In 2014, Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Bernadeia Johnson declared a moratorium on suspensions for students in first grade and younger for nonviolent behavior. In 2015 the following superintendent extended the moratorium on suspensions for nonviolent behavior through the fifth grade. The current district policy does not prohibit suspensions for K-5, but requires schools to consider a student’s age and understanding for K-5 students before removal from school.

  • Chicago Public School system modifies suspension policy for pre-K through 2nd grade, September 2, 2014. Amended Student Code of Conduct places stronger limits on the use of suspensions and emphasizes instructive, corrective, and restorative responses to student behavior. The code requires high level authorization for suspensions of pre-kindergarten through second grade students.

  • Baltimore Public Schools modifies student code of conduct for 2014-2015. Under the revised policy, administrators must contact the director of suspension services for guidance and support before proposing Level 3 or 4 consequences (short-term suspensions, extended suspensions, or transfer to an alternative program) if the student is in Pre‑K or kindergarten.

  • Houston School District restricts disciplinary actions that may be taken against students prior to the third grade, January 2016. Beginning with the 2016–2017 school year, no student shall be informally sent home. No student prior to third grade shall be suspended, placed into a disciplinary alternative setting, or expelled, except as required by law. Disciplinary actions that remove students from their school setting shall be used as a last resort for other elementary students in third through fifth grades.

  • Denver Public Schools, as of March 2017, prohibits lengthy suspensions for prekindergarten through third graders. The district permits only one day maximum out-of-suspensions for students in preschool through third grades and only for severe behavior offenses that impact student or staff safety. Children in preschool through third grades can only be expelled for bringing a firearm to school. 


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