Making kids feel safe keeps them in school 

Kudos to the San Francisco Unified School District for taking a new, restorative approach to school discipline (“Making misbehavior a teachable moment,” April 10). Providing safe learning environments is just as important as keeping our streets safe.

In fact, the two may go hand in hand. Students who are “pushed out” of the classroom all too often fall behind, drop out and end up on a path leading into the criminal justice system. According to a recent study, students who were suspended or expelled were five times more likely to drop out and 11 times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system than similar students with no record of discipline.

Preventing crime in San Francisco begins with keeping children in the classroom and encouraging them to graduate. Studies have consistently shown that kids who stay in school live 10 years longer and make double the salary of their counterparts. On the negative side, nongraduates are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, serve time in prison and earn a lower wage throughout their lives.

Fortunately, proactive policies, such as the “restorative practices” implemented by the SFUSD, emphasize the importance of building positive relationships while holding kids accountable for their actions. These innovative approaches certainly will go a long way toward keeping these young adults on the right track in life.

Hopefully more school districts in California will follow the lead of the SFUSD.

Gregory P. Suhr
Chief of the San Francisco
Police Department


All eyes on Martin case

I had a deep sense of sorrow with the unjustified death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The uproar that arose when George Zimmerman, the admitted shooter, was not charged was extremely encouraging, but it wouldn’t have had to happen if the criminal justice system in Florida was working properly.

Now, let us all hope and pray a jury that believes in justice will be selected so we won’t have the same outcome we had in the Casey Anthony trial.

So, Florida, the whole world is watching!

John Tanwani
Antioch


License cyclists for safety

There is not a single day that passes by without another injured cyclist on the streets of San Francisco. I wonder how many city residents know of the California Department of Motor Vehicles handbook designated for bicyclists? (www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37.htm)

Let’s face it: Between bicycles, motorcycles, cars, taxis, buses, cable cars, trolleys and trucks — and don’t forget our homeless people who freely walk in between cars — the streets have become a real nightmare to navigate.

When you think of it, every vehicle must be registered except bicycles.

So here is the solution: Anyone who wishes to use a bicycle on the streets should have a learner’s permit, get a registration and be issued a plate number. Let’s have the DMV require the same as it does with motor vehicles.

Simone Joseph
San Francisco

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