Wide disparities exist in Minnesota schools’ use of exclusionary punishment, which contribute to poor student outcomes. Research shows that frequent use of dismissals harms all students, including those not subject to punishment, but especially impacts students of color and those with disabilities. They are suspended and expelled at rates far higher than their white and non-disabled peers. Our schools are the foundation of our collective knowledge and community as a society, and all children deserve to learn in an inclusive environment that supports them, without fear of discrimination and harm.
Ending suspensions and expulsions for K-3 will help create equitable, accessible, and safe schools. All students will benefit from positive learning environments that fully include all students, support them, and address their individual needs. Ending suspensions and expulsions for Minnesota’s young learners will help promote alternatives that create a supportive and positive climate for all students and school staff.