By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A six year old in Michigan was suspended from school for forming his hand into the shape of a gun. Educators in urban areas such as Philadelphia and LA are questioning such suspensions in the early grades.

A February Washington Post analysis of 13 school districts in the DC area found that last year more than 6,000 elementary children from pre-kindergarten through 5th grade were suspended for hitting, disrupting, fighting and other offenses. Yet, many experts have shown that there is no research indicating suspensions improve a child’s behavior or make a school safer and those who have been suspended are more prone to lower achievement, dropping out and becoming part of the juvenile justice system.

Walter Gillam, author of a national study of pre-kindergarten expulsions makes a point in saying that a child struggling with reading would never be sent home. Then, why would we send him home for struggling with social-emotional skills?

A good question.

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