Here are some selections from an op-ed piece that ran in the San Francisco Examiner yesterday, written by Carlos Garcia, superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).
It is our responsibility to provide a safe place for learning. One key to safety is fostering and maintaining caring relationships.
While suspending and/or expelling students is sometimes the only option, more often than not it is shortsighted. In cases where misbehavior is a pattern, the short-term consequence of suspending students results in long-term damage to those students who miss school, and it ultimately damages our community, as young people who miss a lot of school are more likely to drop out.
That’s why we are embracing a new approach to dealing with student conflict and misconduct called “restorative practices.”
As an organization with a responsibility to educate youth, we want to shift to an approach that emphasizes the importance of positive relationships in building the school community, and works to strengthen individual and community relationships by repairing harm when conflict and misbehavior happen.
"Teachers who use restorative practices report that they are actually able to spend less time addressing misbehavior in the long run."
Teachers who use restorative practices report that they are actually able to spend less time addressing misbehavior in the long run. Students are held more accountable. They have agreements they have to follow through on, and they have to face the people they’ve hurt.
We’ve only just begun to implement this new approach. ...
However, in a relatively short time, we’ve already seen amazing results for our kids, and that’s what it’s all about.