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Conflict Center Statement on: Protecting Preschoolers from Suspension


Executive Director



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2019


The Conflict Center Supports House Bill 19-1994


Denver, CO –  The Conflict Center believes that school discipline policies should seek to hold students accountable for their actions while also promoting learning, growth and the opportunity to repair harm. We know that punitive discipline, such as suspension, doesn’t create opportunities for children to learn appropriate behavior, interrupts opportunities for learning and feeds the school-to-prison pipeline. Instead, school discipline policies should be focused on keeping students part of the school community as much as possible, especially our youngest children just learning to engage and thrive in school.


Unfortunately, too many students in early childhood education are being suspended in Colorado; over 6,000 out of school suspensions were administered to K-2 students last year and students of colors and students with disabilities were disproportionately impacted. Black students, just 5 percent of K-2 enrollment statewide, received nearly 12 percent of K-2 suspensions last year. Students with disabilities, who made up 10 percent of K-2 enrollment statewide, received 37 percent of K-2 suspensions.  


The Conflict Center strongly supports House Bill 19-1994, which restricts suspensions and expulsions of students in preschool through second grade to specific circumstances, such as bringing a weapon to school, and requires schools to employ alternative discipline options before resorting to removing a child from school.  


“This bill aligns with our belief that expulsions and suspensions should rarely be used in the disciplinary process in schools and that school policies should be intentionally safeguarded against directly or indirectly excluding students and staff, especially members of marginalized communities. In addition, we know that intentional, inclusive school cultures which employ restorative practices create educational environments where students are more likely to achieve academically, feel safe and stay in school,” said Executive Director Beth Yohe.


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