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Early childhood suspension and expulsion: A content analysis of state legislation


In recent decades, there has been considerable public interest and policy action regarding the issue of exclusionary discipline from early care and education (ECE) settings. While numerous states have pursued legislation to address this practice, the legislation has received scarce empirical attention. Using a qualitative approach, the current study investigated state legislation addressing ECE exclusionary discipline (13 bills from 12 states as of January 2019) based on an existing policy framework with the following domains: Motivating Rationale, Population, Alternatives and Practices, Accountability, Personnel Development, and Financing. The majority of bills recommended reducing or banning the use of expulsion in publicly funded preschools, and many bills offered alternative responses to expulsion, ranging from general responses (e.g., behavioral supports) to specific responses (e.g., early childhood mental health consultation). There was variability in the extent to which bills outlined recommendations for accountability, such as data tracking, and financing or recommended alternative responses. Based on our review of the legislation, the following recommendations were identified to support future legislative advances for this issue: identify developmentally-appropriate, evidence-based practices that curtail exclusionary discipline as well as its disproportionate impact on young boys of color; expand the scope of the legislative protections; incorporate mandates related to funding and enforcement; collect data; and include stakeholders when crafting and evaluating legislation. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
California; Colorado; Connecticut; District of Columbia; Georgia; Illinois; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; Ohio; Texas; Virginia

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