Francisco Middle School

There is “a growing culture, not of skipping school, but skipping class and wandering the halls” at Francisco Middle School, according to a teacher who left there last year.

Over a decade ago, the San Francisco Unified School District prioritized teacher training in restorative justice, a criminal justice approach based on perpetrator-victim conversations and community healing, to reduce student suspensions. A successful initiative was launched in 2010, but four years later it was decimated by district leadership and no program was created to replace it.

Teachers say they are now left in the dark: They aren’t given direction from SFUSD leadership on how to manage student misbehavior, some of which is violent, and the state and district have deemed suspensions a last resort. The lack of training and disciplinary direction have driven some teachers to leave the district — and several of the city public middle schools, including Marina Middle School, Everett Middle School and Aptos Middle School, have been reported to be overwhelmed by student behavior problems.

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