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OHIO: 30,000 K-3rd students suspended 2016-17; "violent behavior, ...biting, fighting..."

July 5, 2018, FM radio, Yellow Springs, OH: WYSO Investigation Reveals Thousands Of Ohio K-3 Students Suspended Each Year http://wyso.org/post/wyso-investigation-reveals-thousands-ohio-k-3-students-suspended-each-year A new WYSO analysis of state education data show Ohio school officials issued 30,000 suspensions to kindergarten through third-grade students during the 2016 school year. In Dayton, the same data show hundreds of younger students are removed from classrooms each year. Classroom removals are a problem many education policy experts around the country have been trying to tackle for years…. WYSO's investigation finds Dayton school officials issued 650 suspensions to K-3 students during the 2016-2017 school year. That number has increased slightly each year since 2014…. “What we find is that, nationally, young children are expelled in some communities at a greater rate than high school students,” says Dr. Valerie Alloy, a researcher who leads the state’s Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative. Reasons for these disciplinary measures, she says, range from what’s called “violent” behavior, such as biting or fighting with another child, to “disruptive” behavior, such as not following directions or talking out of turn. Alloy says it’s difficult to nail down exactly how many kids are suspended or expelled from school at a younger ages because many private preschools don’t keep track. But, some data suggests the number is increasing…. Although black students make up only 16 percent of Ohio’s total student population, they make up 51 percent of students suspended during the 2016-2017 school year. Black male students are suspended more than any other demographic, with more than 65,000 total suspensions reported during the same year…. Alloy says research shows that any underlying behavioral issues are not resolved by removing children from classrooms. Instead, she says, the problems often grow worse…. She and her advocacy group Racial Justice NOW! eventually attracted the attention of Republican State Sen. Peggy Lehner. Last year, Lehner introduced the SAFE Act. The bill would bar schools from suspending or expelling younger students for so-called “minor offenses.” It was recently attached to House Bill 318, which has now been approved by both chambers of the Ohio legislature.