The School-To-Prison Pipeline Can Start Even Before Kindergarten, Mother Points Out

Written by MCJStaff   // July 29, 2014   // 0 Comments



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An essay that appeared recently in The Washington Post has brought renewed attention to discipline disparities taking place across all school levels, even in preschool. In the essay, black mother Tunette Powell wrote that her two preschool-aged sons have been suspended from schools a total of eight times, and she wonders if these suspensions might be the result of unintentional biases against black students.

“The problem is not that we have a bunch of racist teachers and administrators. I believe most educators want to help all children. But many aren’t aware of the biases and prejudices that they, like all of us, harbor, and our current system offers very little diversity training to preschool staff,” wrote Powell.

Powell’s essay was grounded in personal experience, but also draws from U.S. Department of Education data. Using this data, Powell points out that even though black students accounted for only 18 percent of preschoolers in the 2011- 12 school year, 42 percent of these students were suspended once that year, and 48 percent received multiple suspensions.

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Black Student School Suspensions

Preschool to Prison Pipeline

Racist Preschool Suspensions

The Current

Tunette Powell

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