Meditation has transformed one of San Francisco’s toughest schools, and its pupils

A San Francisco middle school, surrounded by drugs and gang violence in the neighborhood, has reported the changes it suspects is related to a meditation program that’s now in its eighth year. Already in the first year, “quiet time” suspensions were reduced by almost half. After three years, the attendance rates were over 98% (some of the highest in the city), and today 20% of graduates are admitted to a prestigious, highly academic high school—before it was rare for even one student to be accepted. Perhaps even more remarkable, students at this middle school appeared to be the happiest in the whole of San Francisco. Speaking about the meditation program, Barry O’Driscoll, the school’s head of physical education, says, “It’s provided a lot of stability to our school, helping staff and kids get through the stress they have in their lives.”

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Meditation has transformed one of San Francisco’s toughest schools, and its pupils

A San Francisco middle school, surrounded by drugs and gang violence in the neighborhood, has reported the changes it suspects is related to a meditation program that’s now in its eighth year. Already in the first year, “quiet time” suspensions were reduced by almost half. After three years, the attendance rates were over 98% (some of the highest in the city), and today 20% of graduates are admitted to a prestigious, highly academic high school—before it was rare for even one student to be accepted. Perhaps even more remarkable, students at this middle school appeared to be the happiest in the whole of San Francisco. Speaking about the meditation program, Barry O’Driscoll, the school’s head of physical education, says, “It’s provided a lot of stability to our school, helping staff and kids get through the stress they have in their lives.”

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