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Reporter Debrief: Cabot Incident Draws Attention To Suspensions Of Young Students

The exterior of the Cabot School
Amy Kolb Noyes
/
VPR File
A 6-year-old boy was suspended for 10 days from the Cabot School after he drew a picture that school officials deemed a threat, according to reporting by VTDigger's Lola Duffort.

Last month, a 6-year-old boy in Cabot was suspended from school for 10 days after he drew two pictures which the principal of the Cabot School said "depicted a specific threat of violence." The incident is not isolated: According to state records, more than 300 Vermont children in first through third grades were suspended last year.

VTDigger education reporter Lola Duffort covered this topic in an article published Jan. 5.

Duffort spoke with VPR's Henry Epp. Listen to their conversation above, and read Duffort's story for VTDigger here.

The boy suspended in Cabot is biracial, according to Duffort's reporting. Her story cited a 2015 report by Vermont Legal Aid, which showed children of color and students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended than their white peers.

"That's not a Vermont trend; this is a national trend," Duffort told VPR. "We see this over and over and over again. So certain types of kids absolutely get disciplined more harshly than other types of children."

Duffort said some schools are taking note of the rate of suspensions of young children, and are attempting to use "restorative" practices and other disciplinary methods.

"There's also a push to de-escalate kids when they're acting out," Duffort said, "so to kind of calm them down and then get them back into the classroom as quickly as possible."

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