School board votes to keep kids in the classroom 

San Francisco's school board got a round of applause Tuesday after voting to make it harder for students to get sent home from school.

In response to data showing that an increasing number of students are being suspended or expelled - with a disproportionate number of them being black - a resolution was put before the board by three commissioners to try to find alternatives to disciplinary concerns other than suspension or expulsion.

At Tuesday night's school board meeting, several students spoke out in favor of keeping kids in the classroom.

"If they're not getting love at home and they're not getting love from the school district, they'll get it from the streets,'' said De'Anthony Jones, a teen on The City's Youth Commision, told the board.

Alternatives could include having students do such community service as cleaning up their own graffiti, or taking a problem caused by a student to a peer court instead having disciplinary decisions made by adults only.  Mediation could also be used, for situations such as a fight that breaks out on campus.

The district will try some of the alternatives at schools with higher rates of suspensions with a plan to possibly implement the new disciplinary policies over the next school year.

A representative from the United Educators of San Francisco, the local teachers union, expressed concern about making sure teachers had enough time to learn any new guidelines and implement them.

Additionally, veteran school board member Jill Wynns asked that the district doesn't add to its deficit with the new program, but instead take funds out of programs that the district won't need anymore as a result of the new policies.
 

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Kamala Kelkar

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