(Mar. 20) – The House approved Rep. Susan Lontine’s bipartisan bill to reduce preschool and early elementary out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. In Colorado and across the country, young children are being removed from pre-school and early elementary grades at alarming rates

“This is about addressing a civil rights issue for Colorado’s youngest learners. Suspensions and expulsions disproportionately impact children of color and children with disabilities and it’s time for that to end,” said Rep. Lontine, D-Denver. “This bill will help reduce the likelihood of dropouts, academic failure and an increased likelihood of entry into the criminal justice system.”

Suspensions and expulsions result in the loss of valuable learning and enrichment time for Colorado’s kids. Young students, when they return to school, are often behind their classmates and more likely to be disruptive.

The bill will help address behavioral issues of our young children in ways other than suspensions and expulsions to help them grow and succeed.

In 2014 the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released data showing that black students are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students.  That year, the Obama administration issued discipline guidelines aimed at reducing school suspensions of students of color. In 2018, the Trump administration and Sec. Betsy DeVos rescinded those guidelines.  

The bill aligns with national recommendations that seek to limit school removal for young children while promoting thoughtful exceptions that ensure school safety.

HB19-1194 was approved on a bipartisan vote of 43-22 and now heads to the Senate.

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