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Urban Schools Use Meditation to Transform “Rowdy Adolescents”

By: Krystle Crossman

Meditation is used all over the world to help people stay relaxed and focused. This practice is now being used in schools in San Francisco as a way to help the students focus through their day. Twice during the hectic school day a gong will sound. The students sit, close their eyes, and quietly chant “om” while they are taking their minds to another place. This initiative is called “Quiet Time” and it is something that maybe should be sweeping the nation single the results are so positive.

The first school to adopt the Quiet Time initiative was in 2007. Visitacon Valley Middle School is not in the best part of town. There are daily gunfights, robberies, and so many murders that there is a full-time grief counselor on staff at the school. All of the students either know someone who has been shot or who has been a shooter. The school was like something out of a movie. Students were out of control. Graffiti was found on lockers and almost every wall in the school. Teachers would call in sick frequently because they were too worn out from students swearing at them and acting out. There were many different attempts to turn things around in the school but nothing seemed to be working.

After adopting Quiet Time you would never know it was the same school. The number of suspensions dropped 45% in the first year and have since dropped even more. The attendance rate shot up to 98% which is one of the highest in the city. Around 20% of the students were accepted into Lowell High School after they left Visitacon Valley. Lowell is one of the most elite high schools in the area and it was very rare that anyone from Visitacon was accepted.

Reports like this have come from other troubled schools as well. Students that attend schools where Quiet Time has been introduced report that they feel a lot less stress and less depression than they once had. Grade point averages are increasing. Enthusiasm about learning is increasing.

With the amazing affects that this simple initiative has on students, it makes you wonder why every school in the country is not bringing Quiet Time into their daily routine.

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