Data Brief | Exclusionary Discipline in Vermont: Early Childhood

The 2021 passage of Act 35, which prohibits exclusionary discipline (broadly defined as suspension and expulsion) for children under age 8, has led to an increase in the attention to the use of exclusionary discipline as well as prevention and mitigation strategies in early childhood settings. Building Bright Futures has produced this exclusionary discipline brief in light of Act 35, in recognition of the importance of high-quality early childhood education settings for children’s social emotional development and readiness for learning, and given the increases in acuity and frequency of mental, emotional, and behavioral health related incidents. Using evidence and data to inform policy is critical to ensuring an integrated continuum of comprehensive, high-quality services that is equitable, accessible, and will improve outcomes for each and every Vermont child in the prenatal period through age 8 and their families. To that end, this brief outlines (1) the existing data for children under age 9, (2) limitations and challenges, and (3) policy considerations for Vermont’s Early Childhood System.