San Francisco School Board Establishes Policy to Reduce School Suspensions

At its general meeting on February 25, the San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved a policy aimed at further improving school climate at all San Francisco Unified School District schools and reducing student suspensions.

 

The Safe and Supportive Schools Policy sponsored by Commissioner Matt Haney states that SFUSD is committed to addressing disproportionality and disparities in the issuance of office referrals, suspensions, expulsion referrals, and expulsions, all of which result in lost instructional time, and taking affirmative steps to support its school-site leadership, teachers, staff, and parents to support students in the classroom.

Photo from Fog City Jounal

Photo from Fog City Jounal

“We believe strongly in creating a culture district-wide that is supportive of all members of our community,” said Haney. “In order to effectively reduce the number of out-of-classroom referrals and suspensions now, it is imperative to provide targeted support that empowers teachers who most need to build effective instructional and classroom management tools that can be exhausted before referring a child out of the classroom.”

The Safe and Supportive Schools policy calls for resources for teachers including professional development (PD) for Restorative Practices, working with students impacted by trauma, de-escalation techniques, cultural competency, relationship building, communication skills, working with students with special needs, and prioritizing schools with the highest behavioral needs.

Superintendent Richard Carranza supports the new SF Board of Education policy.

“Excluding students from school is not the best way to deal with behavior issues,” said Carranza. “We are 100 percent committed to deepening and extending our practices of positive tiered behavioral interventions and alternatives to suspension in order to increase instructional time and reduce racial disparities.

 

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