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San Francisco Takes Action to End 'Shocking' Racial Gap in School Suspensions

Young people suspended from school lose out on a lot more than classtime. Research shows that students who are sent home are less likely to graduate and more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.

San Francisco community members are doing something about it. After Public Counsel and Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth requested data that showed 77% of suspended San Francisco students are African American or Latino, school leaders have worked together to tackle the racial gap and promote alternatives to harsh school discipline.

The San Francisco school board introduced a Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution on December 10 that states that “out of school suspensions should only be an absolute last resort” and requires schools to pursue alternatives such as restorative practices or positive behavior support that can help students learn rather than sending them home for an unsupervised vacation, something research shows only make the problem worse.

”San Francisco Unified is taking a huge step toward ensuring that all of its schools provide equal opportunities for children. Two decades of research has made it clear that suspensions don’t work for students or schools,” said Laura Faer, Statewide Education Rights Director, Public Counsel.

Kevine Boggess, Director of Civic Engagement at Coleman Advocates, said: “It’s time for SFUSD to get on board with the growing number of districts around the country that are abandoning harsh school removal practices for proven, research-based alternatives that make schools safer, improve student achievement, and create a more positive school climate for teachers and students.” 

School board member Matt Haney, who introduced the Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution, said “the numbers for African American students remain not just troubling, but shocking.”

Click here to read more about this story from the Center for Public Integrity.

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