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Group Addresses ‘Disproportionate’ SC Preschool Suspensions for Black Children

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A Lowcountry advocacy group is tackling what it calls an alarming rate at which Black preschoolers are suspended and expelled in South Carolina.

The BEE Collective held a community town hall in response to a report that alleged discriminatory discipline practices in order to highlight how those practices affect children in the Tri-County area. The report, prepared by the social justice firm ImpactSTATS, Inc., Black children in South Carolina make up 61% of the state’s preschool suspensions but only 39% of enrolled children, in a state that leads the nation in preschool suspensions overall.

The report highlights that suspended and expelled preschoolers are 10 times more likely to drop out of high school, experience academic failure, and face jail time. Organizers feel this proves the existence of the school-to-prison pipeline effect, beginning in early education.

Friday’s town hall was filled with educators, organizers and parents all sharing their perspectives on the early education system.

Queen-Elle Pringle, a parent and early childhood mental health consultant, talked about the suspension of her child.

“One of his friends was out of school for a week. He was homesick and the little boy walks through the door and my son runs to embrace him and just give him the full experience of Black boy joy and Black boy love and they hugged and they ended up falling on the floor and just so excited to see each other and in return the teacher got upset,” Pringle said. “It was now labeled as a challenged behavior, at the time he was sent to in-school suspension and he ultimately got a referral.”

Advocating for policy change and increased support for educators, the BEE Collective aims to foster an environment where students receive the resources they need to thrive.

The Preschooler’s Town Hall provided a platform for organizers and educators to listen directly to each other in a safe and supportive setting.

The group plans a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday during which it plans to address conversations its members have been having with school districts like Charleston County to address the report’s findings.

Source: Group addresses ‘disproportionate’ SC preschool suspensions for Black children

About The BEE Collective

The mission of the Beloved Early Education and Care Collective is to ensure that every child enters kindergarten socially and emotionally ready to learn, that every pregnant person, parent and early educator has positive well-being and the tools to navigate maternal health and early care systems, that families are resilient, and that our community reduces mental health stigma for all ages.

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