District Attorney George Gascón Supports a Restorative Justice Approach to Bullying

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón addressed San Francisco Unified School District Administrators today about taking a restorative justice approach to bullying. Over four hundred people were in the audience as part of the School District’s Administrative Institute.

“A restorative justice approach with our young people is the best way to achieve safe schools and communities,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “We will not prosecute our way out of bullying and we will not suspend or expel our way to safe schools for our students.”

The statistics on bullying and cyber-bullying show that as many as 56% of teens report being cyber bullied. Middle school students report the highest rates of bullying and LGBT youth are targeted more than others. 36% of children who’ve been bullied report missing school in the last thirty days because of bullying.

District Attorney Gascón cited evidence is increasingly showing that “zero tolerance” policies lead to increased truancy, dropping out and delinquent behavior. School dropouts face a lifetime of challenges and are more likely to become both victims and perpetrators of crime. In San Francisco, 94% of young homicide victims are high school dropouts.

“It takes partnerships to address bullying and the District Attorney’s Office is here to partner with the School District,” said District Attorney Gascón. In the next year the District Attorney’s Office is working with the school district and other city partners to roll our a new restorative justice model as part of the juvenile justice system.
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