In the 2002-2003 school year, there were 41 murders in the neighborhood of Visitacion Valley Middle School in the San Francisco area. Students were busy playing “cops and robbers” with real guns, and many suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the violence they had witnessed in their lives.
Then, in 2007, the principal instituted a program called “Quiet Time” to teach meditation to each student in the school; the results, of two periods of quiet time per day, were dramatic. Truancy rate fell by more than 7 percent (while the average for the State rose to 30 percent) and suspensions fell by more than 50 percent.
Amazingly, twelve minutes at the beginning and twelve minutes at the end of school day have given these children a coping mechanism to deal with the many stresses that they have to deal with as a result of living in a neighbourhood rife with poverty, disadvantage and violence.
This story shows what can be done with simple methods; quiet contemplation really does work!
You can watch this fantastic short film on the project here (courtesy of youtube):