Lightford122117SPRINGFIELD- Children in public preschools are more than three times more likely to be expelled than children in kindergarten through 12th grades, according to a report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois. Those numbers could soon change under a law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) that goes into effect on Jan. 1.

The proposal would prohibit the expulsion of children enrolled in early childhood programs receiving grants from the Illinois State Board of Education. The legislation focuses on transitioning children to programs that better fit a child’s needs.

“Expelling a child, especially at such a young age, neglects their ability to grow and learn given the right opportunities. We need to dedicate educational resources to helping students succeed as they face poverty, trauma, mental health issues and other unfortunate circumstances,” Lightford said.

House Bill 2663 not only serves young children, but it also acknowledges that educators need more support when instructing children with behavioral and mental health issues. The plan allows early childhood programs to participate in programs that work with teachers and parents to prevent further difficulties and build on children’s social-emotional skills.

“A lot is expected of teachers who often work in schools lacking the resources needed to deal with unexpected issues in their classrooms,” Lightford said. “When parents and teachers come together in the interest of our children we can expect better outcomes.”

Category: News

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