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An Equitable Start: Eliminating Disparities in Preschool Discipline

by Jamie Bonczyk, Dianne Haulcy, and Thuba Nguyen
September/October 2022
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/an-equitable-start-eliminating-disparities-in-preschool-discipline/5026719/

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Policies in early childhood organizations continue to create situations in which rules are prioritized over relationships, often to the detriment of the child, which results in a statistically higher number of students of color unsupported in meeting their developmental goals. Systemically, we continue to see a disproportionate amount of Black and brown children disciplined for non-specific classroom offenses. These infractions are often subjective, and frequently labeled under a general umbrella of “defiance.” These students of color then end up spending valuable instructional time in the director’s office instead of the classroom—missing out on important learning opportunities. In many cases, these students are excluded from the program, parents are asked to withdraw, or children are suspended or expelled.

This happens in pre-K at a significantly higher rate than any other grade level. As of 2014, children of color were expelled from preschool at a rate about three times higher than their white peers, a ratio that has remained unchanged since the first study of its kind in 2005. As recently as 2020, the U.S. Department of Education has shown that nationwide, Black males make up 18 percent of pre-K enrollment ...

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