Thursday, May 23, 2024

Pushing Young Kids Out Of School.

May 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Education, News, Politics, Weekly Columns

( I’ve been a teacher at which time I’m proud to say that I never suspended or caused a child to be expelled from school, but as I looked at a bill sponsored by District of Columbia Councilmember, David Grasso, I realized that suspensions and expulsions aren’t limited to high school students. Babies in kindergarten are being suspended and even expelled as outrageous as that sounds. Most of these students are African American.

Just this week I learned two Black baby boys were victims. One of them is in kindergarten. He’s bright and can write and spell. He can think far beyond any five-year-old I’ve ever met. I don’t have children, but I know this little boy very well. Until a few days ago, he was in a school near Baltimore, Maryland. Knowing him well, I know how much he loves going to school, and how seriously he takes his studies. I can’t begin to imagine what this little boy would’ve done to be kicked out of school.

I spoke with the grandfather of another little boy in Ohio who was 7 years old when he was kicked out of school for wrestling with a girl on the playground. In this case, the child was not only suspended, but accused of sexual harassment and had the charge placed in his school record. I could understand if this event would’ve been used for a teachable moment, but to be called a sexual predator!

It’s time for us to take a serious look at how young children, especially Black boys, are discouraged from attending school to get an education, then be criticized for dropping out of school at an early age because school is not a happy place for them. We need to take a serious look at the policies and practices on school suspensions and expulsions where our children attend school and work to change them when they’re unreasonable.

I am writing this article because I know how much most young Black boys and girls like going to school and are excited about doing so until they get kicked out of school– rightly feeling he/she has been treated unfairly. What does a seven-year-old know about sexual harassment? Or, what is a five-year-old to think when he gets into a scrimmage with another five-year-old and he gets suspended, but the other party does not? Babies are being suspended far too often without even knowing why.

We owe all children an education, and when they’re pushed out of school unreasonably, that right is being taken away from them. While I applaud Councilmember Grosso, there are far more school districts where such suspension and expulsion policies and practices should be changed. In a report by, we’re told that Black children are suspended or expelled from school much more often than whites. Yet, more of the heinous crimes, especially mass murders, such as the 26 murders—mostly of babies—are committed by non-Black boys or girls when they grow up.

Mr. Grosso is to be commended for addressing the issue of suspensions and expulsions in his city but let’s not ignore the impact suspensions and expulsions have on Black children in other cities.

We must limit exclusionary discipline. Why not work to provide more teachable moments for young people without treating them like criminals when they likely don’t know the meaning of the word? Expulsions should be extremely rare and an absolute last resort. We’re not helping a child or our society when we take away a child’s opportunity to be educated. Instead of taking away that opportunity, let’s direct our time and resources to improving education for all children.

Columnist; Dr. E. Faye Williams

Official website;

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