Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco is seeing the benefits of meditation, after a pioneering programme has led to reduced stress and improved grades for the students. Gang violence and drugs in the community led to high stress levels among students and underachievement. In addition violence within the school was a daily occurrence and suspensions were commonplace.
The meditation programme, called Quiet Time, was introduced to meet these challenges. Students sit for 15 minutes of meditation twice each day, repeating a personal mantra in their heads until they feel deep relaxation. Suspensions at the school have reduced by 45 per cent since the meditation programme has been implemented and 20 per cent of students now progress to a highly academic high school.