Statement on Early Childhood Discipline Legislation

Date Posted: April 18, 2017

Statement from the Colorado Equity in Early Childhood Coalition on Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee vote against efforts to curb the use of suspensions and expulsions in public preschool and early elementary grades (HB 17-1210 – Lontine &Buckner/Priola & Fields)

Students facing the most barriers to success need every chance to succeed—especially in the crucial early years. We know that all educators, parents, and community members want school discipline policies that are thoughtful, effective, and just.

We know from data that thousands of children—throughout the state—are pushed out of school buildings for infractions often unrelated to safety at a time when a supportive school environment can have the greatest impact.

We are disappointed that this multi-faceted coalition was not successful in this advocacy this year, despite such broad community-based and bipartisan legislative support. We continue to believe that our proposed solutions would significantly reduce the higher proportion of boys, children of color, and children with disabilities who face exclusionary school discipline each year. These solutions were crafted after an intensive, year-long process to involve all stakeholders concerned with the education of our children.

The Coalition will continue to have conversations with legislators and stakeholders through the summer and fall to help them understand that exclusionary discipline has harmful effects that can last a lifetime. We will work to build the support we need to pass meaningful legislation next year.

We know that by working together we can develop policies that support educators, ensure administrators have appropriate flexibility, and keep kids on track for success.

Coalition Steering Committee: Clayton Early Learning, Colorado Children’s Campaign, The Black Child Development Institute (Denver Chapter), Hope Center, Advocacy Denver, Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence, and Padres & Jóvenes Unidos