Maryland still suspended youngest students despite law
BALTIMORE (AP) — Data from the Maryland Department of Education shows the state’s school systems are still suspending about 1,200 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade every year despite a 2017 law intended to virtually eliminate such suspensions.
The data also shows Black students are suspended at a higher rate than all other races, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The percent of students suspended in pre-kindergarten through second grade was cut in half, and is now .5% across the state. State officials said about three-quarters of the suspensions were for threats, attacks and fighting and a quarter were for disruption and disrespect. A small number was for weapons and arson, according to the report.
Black students are suspended at twice the statewide rate — or 1% of Black students in that age group — down from 2% several years ago, the data indicated.
The Maryland Department of Education staff presented a summary of the data at a State Board of Education meeting but did not make the data available immediately. The state Education Department did not immediately respond to questions about the data.
Maryland School Superintendent Karen Salmon called the disproportionate suspension of Black students “horrendous.”
The state school board changed policies about a five years ago to force school systems to address disproportionate suspensions of and special education students.