AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has resolved to champion restorative justice programs in schools that receive public funds (2014); and

WHEREAS, the AFT has resolved to promote the role paraprofessionals and school-related personnel play and the contributions PSRPs make to maintain safe and orderly schools (2000); and

WHEREAS, the AFT has resolved to advocate for and support programs for conflict resolution, peer mediation, and other efforts to eliminate violence from our schools (1992); and

WHEREAS, the AFT Racial Equity Task Force specifically named an aspiration for an equitable education system that guarantees world-class, properly resourced public schools in every neighborhood that provide wraparound services, where young black male students have the equal opportunity to achieve; and that ensures that our schools provide safe, welcoming and caring spaces for students and educators that will guarantee effective teaching and learning (2015); and

WHEREAS, students of color are still experiencing disparate impact of discipline decisions, including suspension and expulsion rates; and

WHEREAS, suspension and expulsion rates, especially for our students of color, remain too high; and

WHEREAS, discipline disparities also overly impact students with IEPs (individualized education programs) and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) students; and

WHEREAS, research from San Francisco public schools has demonstrated that ethnic studies courses boosted the grades, attendance and course completion rates for all students, with the most dramatic improvements among students most at risk to be pushed out of school (January 2016); and

WHEREAS, the risk of suspension for an African-American student in San Francisco is much lower than it was five years ago, but is still substantially higher than for students from other populations (February 2016):

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work to:

  • Increase access to mentoring and counseling services—both inside and outside school, starting in preschool;
  • Incorporate inclusive  restorative justice into school discipline and behavior management practices;
  • Promote the implementation of schoolwide discipline and behavior plans and policies that are developed by school staff, parents, guardians and students;
  • End zero-tolerance policies where they still exist and promote  policies that will help ensure that our schools truly do provide safe and welcoming spaces for students, staff and families;
  • Promote professional learning, experiences and continuing support that help educators and school safety and security personnel  effectively learn about personal and implicit/explicit bias and stereotypes; restorative principles and practices; trauma-informed practices; behavior de-escalation; relationship-building and communication skills; cultural competency, special education training; and positive behavior interventions and supports;
  • Ensure that all schools have the necessary support staff, including paraprofessionals, social workers, nurses, safety and security personnel,  and counselors;
  • Build partnerships with families and community to provide wraparound services for students;
  • Ensure all curricula are culturally inclusive, accurate and relevant, including increasing access to ethnic studies courses for all students;
  • Engage with the community to provide resources that meet the specific needs of our students of color, students with IEPs, LGBTQ students and English language learners;
  • Increase the diversity of our educator workforce; and
  • Continue to advocate for the full funding of public schools to make world-class, safe, supportive and stable schools a reality for all students.