- Showing 11 posts filed under: Region: North America and Caribbean [–], Practice [–], School [–], Policy [–] [Show all]
An alternative to suspension and expulsion: 'Circle up!'
from the story by Eric Westervelt on NPR:
Oakland Unified, one of California's largest districts, has been a national leader in expanding restorative justice. The district is one-third African-American and more than 70 percent low-income. The program was expanded after a federal civil rights agreement in 2012 to reduce school discipline inequity for African-American students.
At Edna Brewer Middle School, the fact that students are taking the lead — that so many want to be part of this effort — shows that it's starting to take root.
"Instead of throwing a punch, they're asking for a circle, they're backing off and asking to mediate it peacefully with words," says Ta-Biti Gibson, the school's restorative justice co-director. "And that's a great thing."
Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue
....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.
Restorative justice community/classroom conferencing: A guide for parents and teachers
It may seem surprising, but many children and youth often misbehave, not because they are trying to harm or disrupt the well-being of others or because they are “bad kids,” but because they are simply trying to meet a personal need, albeit in a negative way. “Children’s behaviours are determined, for the most part, by how they feel about the current state of their physical and psychosocial needs.”
Nova Scotia spends $500K on 'restorative justice' bullying program in schools
from the article by Kris Sims in Sun News:
Nova Scotia is spending $500,000 to expand anti-bullying campaigns in schools, hoping "restorative justice" methods modelled after native sentencing circles can curb the problem in the province.
"Students will largely avoid the stigma of being 'sent to the office' or being suspended. We should not underestimate the negative side-effects of a child's experience at school if that experience involves multiple trips to the principal's office or suspensions from school," reads a government handout on the approach.
'Restorative practices': Discipline but different
At City Springs and many other schools across the country, restorative practices are about holding students accountable and getting them to right a wrong. The approach is getting more notice than ever as criticism grows of zero-tolerance disciplinary policies that often require out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Educators are turning to restorative practices, peer courts in middle and high schools, and related efforts in the hopes of changing students' bad behaviors rather than simply kicking them out of school as punishment and risking disconnecting them from school altogether.
"It's about building relationships and having [students] do what you want them to do because they want to do it—not because they're afraid of what the consequences are," said Rhonda Richetta, the principal of City Springs, which has 624 students. "We really want kids to change."
Parent-to-parent guide: Restorative justice in Chicago Public Schools
from the booklet by the Parents of POWER-PAC:
For too many of our children, “school discipline” has meant getting suspended or expelled—starting as young as kindergarten—being arrested, even in grade school—and ending up on the streets or in jail— without an education.
We are Chicago Public School parents, from many different neighborhoods and backgrounds, raising kids of all ages. We work together in POWER-PAC, and built our “Elementary Justice Campaign: Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline” because we’ve felt at times that school discipline works against—not with—our children and families.
More action needed to bolster good behavior
I don't know exactly what happened during a funeral at a church at N. 53rd and W. Burleigh streets last Tuesday, but I know it was bad.
I know a lot more about what happened in the library at Bradley Tech High School the next morning, and I know it was good.
Judge Irene Sullivan on learning a lesson in restorative justice from teenagers
In mid-May I traveled from my home in Florida to Evanston Township High School, just north of Chicago, to meet with students, school social workers and law enforcement officials. My intention was to talk to them about my nine years of service as a juvenile judge and the stories of the kids in court I wrote about in my book, Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice.
Boy, was I in for a surprise!
Instead of talking I was listening. Instead of teaching I was learning. Instead of being the center of attention, I was one person in a circle of 12. Instead of sharing my experiences with others, I listened while others shared some very personal and painful experiences with me. Instead of talking about guilt or innocence, crime and punishment, I found myself focused on the word “harm:” identifying the harm, acknowledging the harm and repairing the harm.
The restorative approach in Nova Scotia: A partnership of government, communities and schools
....There is now a significant interest across Nova Scotia to bring the restorative approach to schools. Said Pat Gorham, director of crime prevention for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, “Our provincial government is trying to find out what the capacity might be for RJ in Nova Scotia, identifying frameworks that might be put into place for schools that want to participate. The work has largely been from the community up. All pilot programs are at the local level, with individual school administrators opting to commit to a restorative approach, supported by regional RJ agencies.”
The Tri-County Restorative Justice agency exemplifies this integration; it handles diversion of police-referred youth, and it founded Bringing Restorative Justice into Schools, the first project to develop a program using restorative approaches within schools in Nova Scotia. This program trains students throughout the province as RJ facilitators.
Equity leaders learn how to take restorative justice beyond the circle
When the term “restorative justice” is used in education circles, many educators will think of, well, circles. The best-known tool associated with the RJ approach is likely the blame-free, multi-party conversation in the round that lets the person who caused harm and the person harmed find a solution.
But it’s certainly not the only way to use RJ.
Implementing restorative justice: A guide for schools
Recently, the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority released the guide Implementing Restorative Justice: A guide for Schools as part of a series of resources created to help with the statewide implementation of restorative justice for working with young offenders. Developed with assistance from juvenile justice practitioners and school personnel, it provides guidance for implementing policy and practice in both elementary and secondary schools. The goals of the guide include:
- Introduce to school personnel the concepts of restorative justice and restorative discipline.
- Offer new tools that can reduce the need for school exclusion and juvenile justice system involvement in school misconduct.
- Offer ways to enhance the school environment to prevent conflict and restore relationships after conflict arises.