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Black Caucus Supports Ban on Suspending Preschool Kids

By Victor Trammell

The Legislative Black Caucus in the U.S. state of Maryland has solidified its position as a proponent of banning the suspension and expulsion of prekindergarten students.

Cheryl D. Lynn, a Baltimore Democrat who is an elected member of Maryland’s House of Delegates chairs the Legislative Black Caucus. Lynn has voiced her support for a bill, which seeks to ban institutions from kicking prekindergarten children out of school.

“How can you suspend children in pre-K?” Glenn said at a Thursday (October 6th) hearing. “If you can’t control children in pre-K, there’s something wrong with the whole educational setup,” she continued. William C. Smith, Jr., a Montgomery Democrat is the state legislator who is planning the bill, which will impose a suspension ban if it is signed into law.

Smith said at the Thursday hearing that he will introduce this bill at a General Assembly hearing next year. This bill plans to prevent Maryland schools from suspending and expelling children in prekindergarten through second grade. Smith said that black children, in particular, suffer from suspensions at this age at a disproportionate rate.

“[Smith] said the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights has found that while black children make up 18 percent of the U.S. school population, they account for 48 percent of suspensions,” wrote Michael Dresser, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

Smith presented a wealth of statistical data, which proved that black students are unfairly suspended from school at the prekindergarten to second-grade level. This is a particularly big problem in the Maryland city of Baltimore. He also said that Baltimore receives $29 million dollars in state funding annually for its prekindergarten programs.

“When you’re making this investment in pre-K and you suspend the students who most need access to this education, you’re undermining your investment,” Smith said at the Thursday legislative hearing.

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