Cover story: Matt Haney on reducing school suspensions

The Jan. 28, 2014 cover of the San Francisco Chronicle (via The Newseum) The San Francisco Chronicle has a front-page story today on the push to reduce the number of suspensions in San Francisco's public schools and the resolution being considered by the San Francisco school board to restrict suspensions to more serious offenses.

The resolution, authored by school board member and fellow Matt Haney, would end the practice of suspending students for willful defiance -- a loosely-defined category of misbehavior. In his capacity as a fellow, Matt has been using human-centered design to work with schools and students around San Francisco.

In the piece, however, the interview lens was turned on him, and he described his own personal history when it came to school suspensions:

"I was given a lot of second chances, which a lot of people who do not look like me didn't get," said Haney, who is white. "Some of my best friends ended up in jail or worse. I feel like I saw that start in school."

He said he wants to stop the downward spiral before it starts.

"The students being suspended are the ones who most need our support," he said. "Suspension can be a crutch. We feel like we've done something when we've actually made it worse."

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