Don Lemon: Why Are Black Preschoolers Suspended More Than Whites?

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    Something I truly never thought about or never experienced when I was growing up is a child being suspended from preschool.

    It is surprising that it does happen.

    But it’s sad that those who are suspended most often are black children- children who because the history of this country, are already starting out at a disadvantage. This puts them even further behind.

    The report from the Education Department’s civil rights arm shows that black children make up only 18 percent of the 1 million children in public preschool programs in the United States. However, according to the report, those 18 percent of black kids, make up almost half of the preschool children who are suspended.

    White children attend preschool more often than black and Hispanic children; make up 28 percent of the suspensions. Hispanics children also attend preschool at a higher rate than blacks yet account for 25 percent of preschool suspensions. The full story on what’s behind the suspension is difficult to tell because the report doesn’t explain why the students were suspended. I’m sure there are exceptions, but it is hard to believe that a 4 or 5-year old would pose any sort of physical threat that a teacher could not handle fairly easily.

    Daniel Losen of UCLA’s Civil Rights Project told the Associated Press that, “Almost none of these kids are kids that wouldn’t be better off with some support from educators,” and “just kicking them out of school is denying them access to educational opportunity at such a young age.”

    In other words, some who are hired to teach our children are doing the worst thing they can do to a young student, kicking them out- the opposite of education!

    When President Obama announced his “My Brother’s Keeper” program aimed at young black and Hispanic men, he did it by saying we must acknowledge a simple fact  that some in our society are left behind more often and need help getting back on track. That realignment must start well before birth and surely by the time black children start the education process. There must be practices and strategies put in place to help children with behavioral issues so that those issues can be addressed before a child is kicked out of preschool.

    Children want nothing more than to fit in, accepted, to be loved. The best way to love them is to make sure their futures are secure.

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    (Photo Source: PR Photos)

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