Suspensions have a place in pre-K [Letter]

November 17, 2013

Let's do a reality check regarding the conclusion about pre-K suspensions being a harsh response with the removal of a child this young for "acting out" ("The folly of pre-K suspensions," Nov. 13).

Statewide, the number of young children removed or suspended from pre-K is quite small.

Apparently overlooked or dismissed by medical and social advocates was the reported "acting out" in question. According to The Sun's news story on the topic ("Pre-K suspensions common in Maryland schools," Nov. 12):

"Most of the students were suspended for physical attacks on teachers or students, though a handful were suspended for offenses such as sexual activity, possession of a firearm or other guns, inciting a public disturbance, and vandalism."

Does it not seem reasonable that the above behavior warrants removal of the child this young from the pre-K setting? Is such a response really harsh when it prevents other children this young or the child this young (or maybe even teachers) from possible emotional or physical harm? Does it really matter if a child this young really does not know that he or she was suspended and not on vacation?

What does matter is that the parents or guardians are provided with the referral services needed so the child's reasons for the "acting out" can be identified, addressed and rechanneled into what is acceptable social behavior and interaction in a pre-K child's setting. Then the young child is prepared for re-entry into the pre-K setting and future success.

John Herr, Baltimore

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