The Massachusetts Legislature is preparing to break for the holidays soon. But before that happens, we have an exciting opportunity to move the Young Student Exclusion Ban Act forward and eliminate harsh disciplinary policies that fuel the school-to-prison pipeline.
This bill is scheduled for a legislative hearing next week – which means we have just a few days to consolidate as much support behind it as we can. Contact your legislators and tell them: our youngest children belong in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning.
The Young Student Exclusion Ban Act (H.3876) aims to improve educational outcomes by replacing the use of exclusionary discipline in response to minor offenses by students in pre-K through 3rd grade with effective, alternative approaches like restorative practices, mediation, and other forms of conflict resolution. As young students return to school from traumatic experiences brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to ensure they remain in the classroom where they can get back on track.
Excluding students from the classroom at an early age makes it increasingly likely they will experience expulsion or suspension in later grades, contributing to poor academic performance, failure to graduate on time, or even dropping out altogether.
And with Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and students who are economically disadvantaged disproportionately more likely to experience exclusionary discipline at an early age, the Young Student Exclusion Ban Act will help address long-standing inequities and opportunity gaps in education.
We need to make sure this bill has strong support heading into next week’s hearing, but that can only happen with your help. Please take this one-minute action today and urge your legislators to support the Young Student Exclusion Ban Act!
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