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Denver Public Schools approves new policy to reduce childhood suspensions

DENVER -- After a unanimous vote, Denver Public Schools became one of half a dozen school districts in the nation with a new policy that restricts suspension for young students.

The school board decided the new policy at the meeting of the year on Monday night.

The new policy says schools can consider a maximum one day out of school suspension for students in grades preschool through third grade in the case of severe behavior offenses impacting student or staff safety.

Students in those grades would not face expulsion unless they bring a gun to school, in accordance with state law.

Some educators are wary of the new change, saying the district provides too little help in managing children who act out. Opponents say this will only exacerbate the problem.

But advocates, including the district, say kicking young children out of school is not the answer.

State legislation to reduce suspensions and expulsions in preschool through second grade died in a state senate committee in April.

Colorado schools suspended students below the third grade more than 7,000 times in 2016.