Currently, very young students in prekindergarten through second grade are placed in out-of-school suspension for minor, disruptive behavior. When they are removed from the classroom, they fall behind their peers. In the 2013-2014 school year, 33,753 Texas children in prekindergarten through second grade received out-of school suspensions. 2,513 of these suspensions were issued to pre-k students. Suspending young children has proven to be harmful and ineffective. Young children who are expelled or suspended from school are about ten times more likely to drop out of high school, face incarceration, and repeat grades. Additionally, African American children, boys, and students with special needs are suspended at disproportionately high rates.
My House Bill 674, now law in Texas, prohibits schools from placing students in prekindergarten through second grade in out-of-school suspension and encourages schools to use alternative discipline methods that keep students in school. This reduces the stigmatizing effects that sending students home for disruptive behavior, even at that young of an age, creates, which studies have shown last through the completion of elementary school, middle school, and beyond. Additionally, the new law encourages districts to utilize alternative discipline methods that focus on positive behavior strategies and keep kids in school.