CHICAGO, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Some kindergartners and first-graders suspended from school can find it challenging to reverse the negative trajectory in their academic life, a study of the University of Michigan (UM) found.
Using data from an initiative of the Social Research and Evaluation Center at the Louisiana State University (LSU) College of Human Sciences and Education, the researchers found that these young suspended students, especially boys, are likely to be suspended again later in elementary school.
"Not only are children who are suspended at a young age missing out on time spent in early learning experiences, but they are also less likely to be referred to services and supports they need to thrive in later school years," said Zibei Chen, a research fellow at the UM School of Social Work.
Significant predictors of suspension in kindergarten and first grade also predicted suspension one and three years later, the study indicated.
Schools often use suspensions to discipline students. But the effectiveness of suspension has been doubted.
The study also found that boys rated by teachers as aggressive, defiant and disruptive are more likely to be suspended than girls, and they are also less engaged in school; girls rated by teachers as disruptive and lacking in parental school involvement are more likely to be suspended; and boys and African-American students are more likely to be suspended than girls and white and Hispanic students, respectively.
Black students experience disproportionate suspensions, but these incidents are not always straightforward. Sometimes these behavioral issues can be reported by teachers who may hold implicit racial biases and not issue the same penalties to white students, said Mi-Youn Yang, LSU assistant professor of social work.
The study has been published in Children and Youth Services Review.