A Washington Post review of suspensions of elementary school students in DC and surrounding jurisdictions features interviews with a Children’s Law Center client and executive director Judith Sandalow. Reporter Donna St. George examined data from 13 of the region’s school systems and discovered that last school year more than 6,000 elementary school students were suspended or expelled. This number includes the 4-year-old son of Rajuawn Thompkins, a Children’s Law Center client, who was repeatedly suspended in his pre-kindergarten year for crying and kicking off his shoes. Ms. Thompkins thought he was too young to be suspended. Sandalow thinks he should be: “It is never the right answer to suspend an elementary-age child,” she told the Post. She explained that young children’s misbehavior usually indicates something else is wrong, that they might be facing difficult circumstances at home or struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability.
The lack of uniformity in school discipline was one concern Sandalow raised in recent testimony before the DC Council.