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August 18, 2016

Kindergarteners will no longer be suspended in Philadelphia public schools

Revision to Student Code of Conduct signals changes in disciplinary approach

The School District of Philadelphia announced Thursday that it has revised its Student Code of Conduct to eliminate suspensions for kindergarten students who behave out of line. 

“We remain focused on academic achievement, children reading on grade level, and college and career readiness. The early years are most important and we need students in school,” Superintendent William R. Hite said in a statement. “Studies show that more kindergarten suspensions lead to less opportunity for children to stay on grade level with their peers."

As part of the shift in disciplinary strategy, the district will work proactively to develop new interventions that will help teachers manage conflict and recognize trauma. This will include resolution and de-escalation training for educators of the city's youngest learners.

Ultimately, Hite said, the aim of the new policy is to ensure that students have the best chance to keep pace with their peers and stay engaged with their education.

"The more time a child spends in school, the greater the likelihood they will read on grade level, not dropout, and graduate from high school.”