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The O’Farrell Charter School sees a fraction of the fights as Lincoln High, two miles west. Based on surveys area principals conducted with parents, violence is a big part of the reason why 70 percent of southeastern San Diego families opt for charters or schools in other neighborhoods.

There’s a link between school discipline policies and students who enter the justice system. Folks call it the school-to-prison pipeline. Mid-City Community Advocacy Network, or Mid-City CAN, is a City Heights-based organization that advocates for restorative justice, a new approach to school discipline that hopes to disrupt that flow. On this week’s podcast, Diana Ross, executive director of Mid-City CAN, joined […]

A few years ago, San Diego Unified launched pilot program aimed at incorporating a new approach to school discipline, called restorative justice. It’s well received where it’s implemented, and the district has touted its use following high-profile incidents of violence on school campuses. But the program has only been implemented at a small handful of schools.

San Diego Unified is right to consider low teacher experience a factor in lopsided suspension rates. But teachers aren’t solely to blame — they often have to cope with the fallout from issues beyond their control, like a lack of affordable housing, unemployment and underserved neighborhoods.

A line buried in a San Diego Unified report indicates less-experienced teachers might suspend students more often because they lack classroom management skills. That idea validates the fundamental point made in Vergara v. California – that the weakest teachers disproportionately end up in low-income schools.

After a sobering report came out in 2007 showing racial disproportionalities in special education, San Diego Unified has made strides to fix the problem. But a closer look at the numbers — as well as student outcomes — shows there’s still a some work to be done.