Expelled From Preschool?

Cynthia Dermody

My former biter was never expelled from preschool.

My kids have pushed, bitten, scratched, and yelled at other children in preschool. Before little kids learn the right words to express frustrations, they use teeth and hands. Part of being a toddler, right? I'd like to think that's one of the reasons they're in preschool in the first place, to learn how to get along with others, right?

Not according to some people.

You may remember hearing that a recent Yale study found that nearly seven of 1,000 preschoolers are expelled from school -- three times the rate of expulsions at elementary, middle and high schools. Well, now comes the news that England also reports a high preschool expulsion rate.

Seems we have an international trend on our hands! More than 4,000 children 5 and under were suspended from primary schools in the UK last year. All of them were thrown out due to aggressive behavior, most of it directed at classmates but in some cases at adults.

Now I can understand expelling a child who despite numerous interventions continues to be disruptive and a threat to the welfare of others. But most 2 year olds I know aren't mean or vicious. They're just being 2 year olds.

Several CM moms have also reported their children getting the boot  at preschool for what seems like a perfectly normal toddler phase to me.

Says one anonymous mom of her 2 1/2 year old: "He was kicked out of school not even a month into the program. [The director] asked me not to bring him back anymore after he "tried to bite someone," "was rough with a little girl" " and then "actually bit someone." But my thing is, the director didn't even know why he bit him! I thought the point of the 2.5 year old class is so that they can get acquainted with other children and learn to share, etc. My son was never a biter before he started school, so I don't know where this behavior came from."

Over in England, preschool teachers now have more authority to "physically restrain" problem children to nip issues in the bud. I sure don't like the sound of that. Haven't they heard of a time-out before?

Here's a two-part question for you: Should preschoolers be expelled, and under what circumstances? And should preschool teachers be allowed to use force--if so, how much?

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