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RELEASE: Pupil Fair Dismissal Act Receives First Public Hearing

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Pupil Fair Dismissal Act Receives First Public Hearing

Rep. Richardson advocates for proposal to help close the cradle to prison pipeline

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights) presented legislation to amend the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act (H.F. 1785) in the Early Childhood Committee. The amendment would prohibit a school district from expelling or suspending prekindergarten children, expanding a policy that Minneapolis Public Schools adopted in 2014.

Early learning experiences have a critical impact on the development of young children,” said Rep. Ruth Richardson. “Missing out on those experiences leads to more suspensions and more missed learning opportunities down the road. It doesn’t address the root cause of the behavior that triggered suspension or expulsion and ultimately it contributes to the cradle to prison pipeline.

Stats and figures:

  • Students who are suspended or expelled during preschool or elementary school are 10 times more likely to face jail time later in life.
  • Race is significantly associated with suspension. Black students are 3 times more likely to be suspended, and 7 times more likely to get expelled than white students.
  • On average, 250 young learners are suspended each day.
  • President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative provided a recommendation to eliminate suspensions and expulsions in preschool and other early learning settings.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Early Childhood omnibus bill. Sen. Susan Kent (DFL – Woodbury) is the chief author of a Senate companion.