Kevine Boggess, director of policy with Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, is critical of how the policy has rolled out thus far and said the district has more work to do to reduce suspensions.

“What we would like to see is a trained staff person come into that classroom and support that teacher to de-escalate the situation,” when a student is being disruptive, Boggess said.

But given what Boggess described as a lack of resources at schools that prevents extra staff support for every teacher, the alternative is to move a student to another classroom.

Safe and Supportive schools was spurred into fruition by the district’s “terrible history with overpunishing black students,” Haney said.

Racial disparities in the district’s use of suspensions have persisted despite the significant decrease in use over the years. Last school year, 341 of the 859 students who were suspended are black, while another 290 are Latino and 45 are white.

Black students were also 45 percent of the total fall 2015 suspensions — a count which includes students who were suspended multiple times — while making up just 9 percent of the student population in the district. Latino youths represented 30 percent of the students suspended during the same time, and 29 percent of students in the district.

By Michael Barba
San Francisco Examiner

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