A tough new discipline policy in the Philadelphia public schools has resulted in 33 suspensions of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/16/education/16KIND.html?8bhp">kindergartners</a> in the first three months this year, compared to one suspension in the same period last year. The suspensions, first reported this week in The Philadelphia School Notebook, an independent quarterly newspaper, included 26 out-of-school suspensions. Most of the suspensions lasted one day, school officials said. However, parents groups and children's advocates have condemned this as unfairly draconian, and a system that will stigmatize these children at an age where they are still building a self-image. They have decried the suspensions as a quick-fix answer that pits parents against schools. Defenders of the system note that the real intent is to engage parents that are not doing their job teaching discipline to 5 or 6 year olds. Said one official, 'This is a sort of time out, ratcheted up a bit. It's not about punishing the kid or hammering the kid.' Said another, 'You don't wait until middle school to teach kids to read, and you don't wait till middle school to teach kids that violence isn't appropriate.' I guess it all depends what they are being suspended for. Hitting, pushing is about being a kid, and unfortunately, I am a believer that kids must go through this phase with some supervision but not suspensions.