With a focus on breaking the school to prison pipeline, Unite for Students calls on the San Francisco Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools, Richard Carranza, to focus on restorative justice over zero-tolerance; encourage parental involvement in schools; and ensure that all students have access to college and A-G counseling. The school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately affects SFUSD students of color, requires immediate action.
We urge the Board and Superintendent to:
- Build on the success of pilot programs replacing zero-tolerance school discipline policies with restorative practices, such as the one at Rosa Parks Elementary led by Principal Paul Jacobsen. After implementing restorative justice in the 2011-2012 school year, he reduced suspensions from 20 in the previous year to three.
- Continue to closely monitor the implementation of restorative practices in the district and ensure that it expands beyond the pilot schools into more schools in the district and particularly those in the eastern parts of the city. Make this expansion a budget priority.
- Involve parents and students to a greater extent as restorative practices continue expanding in the district to guarantee the program’s success.
- Closely monitor the collection and reporting of data on suspensions and expulsions to ensure the transparency required by the restorative justice resolution from 2009 is achieved.
- Decrease the presence of law enforcement at schools by relying more on district-trained, and district-hired staff instead of School Resource Officers.
- Facilitate more resources and tools for parents on how to start PTAs and PTOs in their schools, and encourage their development.
- Dedicate appropriate time to staff development training for teachers on ways to involve parents more in their child’s schools.
- Ensure that school officials/administrators are linguistically and culturally competent and sensitive to the surrounding demographic and are available to assist and encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s schools.
- Equitably and fully implement the A-G requirements to ensure that all students have the necessary knowledge and opportunity to sign up for these courses and that they are eligible to apply to the UC and CSU systems.
- Educate both students and parents about the importance of enrolling in A-G courses and the college connection by making it district-wide policy that all incoming freshmen attend an “A-G” workshop and all juniors complete an “A-G” checklist during their second semester.
- Designate one teacher for every grade level at every high school, as the point-person for college related questions/guidance.
We ask Superintendent Carranza to announce an initiative aimed at ending the school-to-prison pipeline with one or more of the above recommended policies, and to report back on the progress of that initiative by the end of the 2012-2013 school year.