Suspension in the early grades is becoming a disturbing trend: Elementary schools are suspending children who are still learning to read, control their bodies and manage their emotions to deal with their behavior problems. In the past few weeks, reports surfaced in the Washington, DC metro area about young children who have been suspended or expelled for fighting, throwing tantrums and disrupting the class. Recently, a school in California suspended a 6-year-old for brushing against his friend's groin while playing. In Florida, an 8-year-old with special needs was arrested last February and charged with aggravated-assault for throwing a piece of a pipe at his teachers. Also last year, a school in New York City suspended a 9-year-old boy for two days for putting a "kick me" sign on another student.
Alternatives to suspension take more thought, time and in some cases investment. But those investments are worth it to help children learn from their mistakes, and develop the skills that will ultimately keep bad behavior from repeating. In the early grades, discipline should be a teaching tool.
This is an excerpt from a post I wrote last week on the Huffington Post. Read more about some alternatives and my full piece here.
I welcome your comments!