Improving Systems, Practices, and Outcomes

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Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood

Topic Editor: Megan Vinh

Expulsions and suspensions occur at a significantly higher rates in preschool than in grades K-12 and are greatly disproportionate to young boys of color. These practices have been shown to influence a number of adverse outcomes related to development, health, and education. Part of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative encourages states, early childhood programs, and families to partner in preventing, reducing, and eventually eliminating the expulsion and suspension of young children from early learning programs.

See also: eNotes on Expulsion and Suspension

Federal Guidance and Resources

Reducing Suspension and Expulsion Practices in Early Childhood Settings

This website provides links to a variety of resources to aid states, early childhood programs, families, communities and other stakeholders in their efforts to reduce expulsion and suspension practices in early learning settings. Some key resources include:

The Pyramid Equity Project: Addressing Preschool Suspension and Expulsion

On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced a $1 million investment in the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to implement the Pyramid Equity Project (PEP) to address inequities in early childhood discipline practices. The project will implement the Pyramid Model to promote the social and emotional skills of all children, prevent challenging behavior of children at risk of challenging behavior, and provide individualized interventions for children with persistent challenging behavior. The goal is to demonstrate how programs, children and families all thrive in an environment where no suspensions and expulsions occur.

RethinkDiscipline in Early Childhood Settings: Online Discussion

On October 15, 2015, Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin convened national experts for this online discussion about the use of suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings, and local efforts to end the use of exclusionary discipline for young children.

Resources from National Centers and Associations

Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings: A Program Leader's Guide to Supporting All Children's Success (2016)

This research-based, interactive guide provides recommended policies and practices that address the underlying root causes of suspension and expulsion. It includes resources on supporting social-emotional development, reducing challenging behavior, recognizing the role of cultural differences and implicit biases, and more. A self-assessment survey is included to help provide a tailored roadmap to navigating the guide.

Standing Together Against Suspension and Expulsion in Early Childhood: A Joint Statement (2016)

A group of more than 30 national organizations published this joint statement, which supports the recommendations of the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human services in their December 2014 Joint Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension. The organizations have also compiled a number of related resources to help states, districts, communities, and classrooms prevent, limit, and ultimately eliminate suspension and expulsion in early childhood education.

Suspension and Expulsion in Preschool Development States: Policies and Practices (2016)

Preschool Development Grant Technical Assistance (PDA TA) Program: This report looks at how Preschool Development Grant states are responding to the expulsion and suspension of their youngest students, outlining policies and practices used. The report discusses relevant federal and state policies aimed at mitigating the excessive use of expulsion and suspension for preschool students.

Pyramid Model Consortium Webinar on Preschool Suspension and Expulsion (2015)

The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI): This webinar provided an important discussion on how program-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model (i.e., early childhood PBIS) can be used to ensure that all children, including children with persistent challenging behavior, are supported within a program without the use of expulsion or suspension. See the related fact sheet, Expelling Expulsion: Using the Pyramid Model to Prevent Suspensions, Expulsions, and Disciplinary Inequities in Early Childhood Programs (2015), which summarizes current research findings about suspension and expulsion of children, particularly children of color, from early childhood settings and provides recommendations and suggestions for using the Pyramid Model to address this national problem.

Using Data to Reduce Suspension and Expulsion of Young Children (2016)

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy): This presentation describes strategies and tools that have been used for improving instruction and programming for young children with disabilities. It focuses on strategies for reducing suspension and expulsion of young children, including how to use data to this end.

Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Bibliography (2015)

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO): This annotated bibliography provides a selection of research studies and federal and state policy resources related to early childhood suspension, expulsion, and discipline and what can be done to prevent these practices.

Addressing Expulsion and Suspension Practices in Early Learning Settings

The American Psychological Association (APA) worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to highlight the following four pieces on Psychology Benefits Society, a blog from the APA Public Interest Directorate: