© 2024 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Mo. House bill seeks to prohibit school suspensions for young children

A bill working to prohibit school suspensions for students in preschool through third grade had its first hearing in the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bill would also prohibit suspensions as a result of truancy, absences or prior offenses for all grade levels.

Democratic St. Louis Representative Ian Mackey’s proposed bill to require school boards to consider reasonable alternative measures to suspension was received warmly by those publicly testifying. One of the witnesses from those unanimously speaking in favor of the bill was Dr. Lara Wakefield, the owner of a national private practice in the special education field.

Dr. Wakefield noted how often students with behavior dysregulation issues are faced with suspension instead of appropriate disciplinary actions because their specialized needs were not originally met.

“We need to ask ourselves what does a suspension actually teach a child? One of my fifth grade clients recently said, ‘all a suspension taught me was to go big and go home. It didn't teach me how to regulate my behaviors and use my coping skills.’”

The bill has not yet been scheduled for a second hearing.