State lawmakers look to reduce school expulsions and suspensions

Mar 23, 2017

State lawmakers want to curb the suspension rate among young children in pre-school through third grade. A bi-partisan measure to address the issue is making its way through the state house.

Freshman lawmaker Democratic Rep. James Coleman of Denver said there were 7,000 suspensions last year alone for young school children – and he said children of color are suspended significantly more than their white peers.

“So it’s happening that many times…that child feels as if this is who they are. That child is not in class those days and not learning, so that sets them back academically,” Coleman said. “And so I think long term it can have really negative effects.”

Something he knows firsthand, Coleman said he was expelled in first grade, and then in fifth grade he was kicked out of three different schools. House bill 1211 would provide training and resources to help teachers come up with alternatives to suspension.