Colin Morrison from the Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland told the
that it was "a shocking indictment" that the most vulnerable young people were being excluded from what should be the most stable place and the safest place in their lives - school.
The committee was taking evidence in a roundtable format on the connection between school exclusions and offending on 11 December 2012.
Mr Morrison also said early intervention was necessary and that was where the government should be investing funds.
Professor Susan McVie from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime said "It is all very well to say we are getting better at not excluding, and that is probably true, but for a very small minority of vulnerable, disadvantaged young people, we are not getting it right and we are failing these children".
Children as young as primary one were being excluded and that raised "quite profound questions about why this is happening", according to Professor Pamela Munn from Moray House School of Education.
Alan Staff from Apex Scotland said that the majority of young people who were excluded had already begun an offending background and were already committing minor offences.
Mr Staff said that excluding them increased the likelihood of them going on to increase that activity and that "you almost create the problem you had hoped to manage."
Susan Quinn from the the Educational Institute of Scotland said young people were not excluded on a whim and an "exclusion quite clearly only happens after a wide range of strategies in an establishment".
However Ms Quinn said that there were budget issues causing barriers good strategies that were proven to work as some required a high level of staffing and resources.
John Butcher from the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland said that exclusions in schools were coming down and what has made the difference is the culture and ethos in schools.
Mr Butcher said "schools actually want to hold on to children, they want to get it right for them" and that there had been a huge change in moving things forward.
Eileen Prior from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council said "for very many children school is one of the few constants in their lives and I think its very easy to forget that" and that school was something that they could "cling to".
Ms Prior Also said it was "shocking" that most exclusions from Glasgow now were from special schools.
Vivienne Sutherland from the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists, Maggie Fallon from Education Scotland, Nico Juetten from the Office of the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People and Jim Thewliss from School Leaders Scotland also gave evidence.
The committee began by taking evidence on the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 (Scottish Land Court) Order 2013 [draft] from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.