On Monday (June 12th), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill crafted by a member of the Texas House of Representatives, which outlawed the out-of-school suspensions of Texas school children enrolled in preschool thru second-grade.
TheRoot.com recently reported that House Bill 674 became law after Gov. Abbott provided his signature to initiate the final authorization. With the stroke of his pen, the Governor of Texas was able to put a dent in the preschool-to-prison pipeline within the borders of America’s largest geographical state.
However, the new law does not ban the out-of-school suspension of preschool thru second-grade students who are reprimanded for the possession of illegal drugs, committing violence, or possessing deadly weapons. Many early- childhood education advocates have championed the new Texas law.
“Authored by Rep. Eric Johnson, who represents District 100 in Dallas, the [new] law also encourages school districts to implement research-based positive disciplinary alternatives to suspension that keep kids in schools,” wrote Monique Judge, a journalist and regular contributor to TheRoot.com.
The Texas State Representative who wrote the original bill before it became law supports Gov. Abbott and is deeply encouraged by the birth of this important piece of groundbreaking education legislation.
“I’m very pleased that Governor Abbott signed the bill, as opposed to allowing it to become law without his signature,” Johnson told TheRoot.com. “I take this to mean that the governor shares my view that the school-to-prison pipeline is real and that our early-childhood educators are our first line of defense against it,” Johnson also said.
Many education experts and child psychologists agree that suspending children from school for minor offenses who are as young as six years of age is unnecessary and has far-reaching effects, which deeply hinders their development over the course of a lifetime.
“Young children who are expelled or suspended from school are about 10 times more likely to drop out of high school, face incarceration and repeat grades,” read a note on Rep. Johnson’s fact sheet.
Hopefully, other states will join Texas in a nationwide fight against the proprietors of America’s preschool-to-prison pipeline.