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A Missouri lawmaker is looking to end school suspensions for the state’s youngest students. 

Rep. Ian Mackey, D-St. Louis, is the sponsor of a new bill that would ban suspensions for children in kindergarten through third grade. The bill would also discourage suspensions in all grades, regardless of age. 

“Republican and Democratic lawmakers across the state agree that more must be done to end the school-to-prison pipeline,” Mackey told St. Louis Public Radio. “We should start by reforming how our state’s youngest students are disciplined at school.”

In addition to the K-3 ban, the bill would require all school districts to report suspensions and explain why. 

There are many harms to overzealous school discipline practices, especially suspensions for young children. Students who are suspended miss meaningful class time, can feel alienated from their peers, and are more likely to drop out and come into contact with the juvenile justice system. 

Right now, 32 states have school discipline laws. At least 16 and D.C. have laws limiting the use of suspension, especially for younger students. For example, Connecticut prohibits out-of-school suspension for students in pre-K through the second grade. California bans suspension through the third grade. In Oregon, suspension is banned until the fifth grade. 

Kennedy Hunt P.C. supports this move to end school suspensions for young children in Missouri. Our attorneys are experts in employment law. If you or your child has been a victim of harmful school discipline practices, we may be able to help. Fill out a questionnaire so we can better understand your case.