By KATHRYN SHEA, Guest Columnist
Published: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 1:00 a.m.
"A recent CNN report highlighted new data showing that thousands of three- and four-year-olds, including a disproportionate number of boys and black children, are being suspended or expelled from U.S. preschools at a disturbing rate.
More than 8,000 public preschoolers were suspended at least once, and some multiple times, during the 2011-12 school year, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. During that year, black students represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment and 48 percent of students suspended more than once. Boys represented 54 percent of the preschool population and 82 percent of preschool children suspended multiple times.
A child's early education, which includes preschool and elementary school, sets the foundation for future success. And for at-risk children with histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, this foundation reduces their likelihood of dropping out of school, having children as teenagers, or becoming entangled in the criminal justice system. Sadly, the CRDC data further support a rising trend in our nation to discipline young, bright children with a "zero tolerance" policy that is setting them up for failure...."
In this brilliant opinion article, Kathryn Shea has issued a clarion call to help children who are at risk of failure because of poverty or abuse. All God's children are beloved and should be treated as such by all of us. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org