I am distressed by your one-sided editorial about suspending young children from Maryland's public schools ("Pre-K suspensions make no sense," Nov. 12).

Of course, young children do not understand why they are being sent home, and it does not help them change their behavior. That being said, there is more to the story, as many preschool teachers can tell you.

Some of the behavior problems are created by developmentally-inappropriate programs. Young children are not smaller versions of school-aged children, and they require different experiences that include creative, child-initiated play and a focus on social/emotional development. When young children are required to participate in large group and teacher-directed instruction we are setting them up to fail, and some of them will react aggressively.

Young children require smaller group sizes, appropriate staff-student ratios and teachers who are trained in early childhood education. All too often young children, through no fault of their own, have serious behavioral issues that result in physical aggression. Young children can hurt other young children, sometimes badly, sometimes frequently and sometimes causing fear in other children.

One teacher has to focus on the child who is hurting other children, which leaves the other teacher, if there is one, to do everything else. All too often, there are multiple children with serious behavior issues. Even well-educated, experienced, deeply caring teachers cannot do it all. We need more hands.

The real question is how do we fix this system so that young children are not being suspended, other young children are not being hurt and teachers can do their jobs effectively.

Nancy Jeannechild, Baltimore

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