Today at 5 p.m., school activists and parents plan to rally outside the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education (SFUSD) meeting in support of a new motion designed to revamp discipline policies.

The board, which meets at 555 Franklin Street, is expected to introduce the Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution. The resolution specifies that “out-of-school suspensions should only be an absolute last resort,” according to the nonprofit Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, and that schools are to be required to find alternatives to suspensions.

“More often than not, school suspensions in SFUSD are issued to students of color. African-American and Latino students make up 77 percent of all SFUSD suspensions and 81 percent of all suspensions for “willful defiance,” a category under state education code that includes a wide range of student behavior including coming late to class, talking back, or failing to turn in homework,” writes Samantha Liapes of Coleman Advocates, in a press release publicizing the rally. Coleman Advocates has published a report on SFUSD suspension rates by race, found here. Despite making up just eight percent of the student body, African-American students comprise 50 percent of those suspended.

Follow Us

Greta Mart is a Bay Area-based newspaper reporter and freelance writer, and currently a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. From 2005 to 2012 she was a staff reporter at two community newspapers in WA and CA, and has contributed to several Bay Area and Seattle area newspapers, as well as Pacific Yachting and Italy's Gulliver and La Republicca's D magazines. Greta holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and studied history at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She lives aboard her sailboat at the Berkeley Marina.

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. If these policies hurt students of color, how come I don’t see stats for the large Asian population of SFUSD?

  2. did it ever occur to Samantha Liapes that maybe the 77% of students who get sent home who are black and Hispanic is because they represent the 77% of kids who act out at school?

    It’s like complaining that 50% of prisoners are black when it is widely known that 505 of murders in the US are committed by blacks.

    This endless playing of the race card gets beyond tedious.

    1. Uh huh. As a teacher at a high poverty sfusd school that serves only students of color, I know that a big reason why our students are acting out at school is because their needs aren’t being met at home and often at school. The educational system failed their parents and their parents and they’re living in conditions that John could never imagine. It all comes down to institutionalized racism and that’s exactly why we shouldn’t go strait to suspension for defiance. We need to support them in other ways and not let them slip through the cracks.