Restorative justice in education – possibilities, but also concerns
from the blog article by Kathy Evans:
There is a great deal of momentum right now for implementing restorative justice in education. This makes me incredibly excited – and a bit nervous.
Let’s start with the good news! RJ is gaining lots of attention in education. Recently, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education came together to issue a colleague letter alerting schools that they can be cited for disproportionately disciplining students in certain categories. These federal agencies then recommended restorative justice as one way to address disproportionate discipline in schools!
As city prepares to rethink school discipline, a look at restorative justice programs in action
from the article in Chalk Beat:
It’s a clear morning in mid-June, and Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx has that end-of-the-school-year feel. Students bid farewell to teachers, seniors tote freshly printed yearbooks, and most noticeably, students are allowed to disregard the school uniform without a call home or a trip to the principal’s office.
Yet even on a regular day, breaking the dress code would not lead to these consequences. In Validus terms, offenders would be “brought to Fairness” instead.
Elementary school employs restorative practices to engage students in academics and respond to harm
from the article on Restorative Works learning network:
“Usually teachers do too much talking,” said Mike Selvenis, principal of Thomas W. Holtzman Elementary School. “Restorative practices give teachers a way to get out of the way of students. Circles help make the classroom a comfortable place to get conversation going.”
Restorative justice helps teach students
from the article in The Eastern Echo:
For most of this decade, and the previous decade, punishment in schools has not only been considered separate from criminal justice policy, but has also been all about retribution: suspension, expulsion, demerits, etc.
Both approaches involve a narrow definition of justice. Restorative justice is far more promising, and attempts to reconcile the abused and the abuser rather than simply punish the latter. Certainly, the notion of restorative justice becomes complicated and difficult to defend when the abused had a loved one murdered, and the abuser was the assailant. But in cases where the two or more parties are in schoolyard squabbles and scuffles, restorative justice offers more opportunities to students and educators.
Close to Home: Success of restorative program shows in numbers
from the article in the Press Democrat:
Last October, after the Santa Rosa City Council approved funding to introduce restorative practices in schools, The Press Democrat ran an editorial that stated, “Spending $125,000 on a one-year pilot program is a lot to ask — especially for the Santa Rosa City Schools District. But in this case, it's money well spent.”
Practicing restorative justice at Oakland's Skyline High
from the article by Sarah O'Neal:
Sonia Black is walking through the halls of Skyline High School, trying to get the last few kids to class.
Black is in charge of discipline and attendance for ninth and twelfth graders at Skyline. She’s been at the school for two years and this year, they’re trying something new: restorative justice.
“The whole idea of restorative justice is, how can we make this situation right so you don’t have to come up and see me anymore?” says Black. “We want to have a conversation about what’s going on and what we can do to resolve this so that the student is in the classroom learning and the teacher is able to teach.”
Restorative justice: A different approach to discipline
from the article on We Are Teachers:
Suspensions at Bunche High School, a continuation school in a high-crime, high-poverty community of Oakland, Calif., dropped by 51% last year. Disrespect for teachers has declined; the school is safer. Students are more focused on their studies and many have stopped cutting class.
Teachers at the school say these positive results are due in large part to a radically different approach to discipline called restorative justice: a bold alternative to the typical zero tolerance policies that lead to mandatory suspensions and expulsions. “Restorative justice is a major cultural shift from a punitive model to a restorative model,” said David Yusem, Program Manager of Restorative Justice for the Oakland Unified School District, one of the first districts in the nation to embrace the practice.
Syracuse should stay the course on dealing with school suspensions (Commentary)
from the article on Syracuse.com:
...The spirited discussion in our community on how public schools use and overuse suspension and about the differential rates of suspension of students of particular identities (e.g., males, females; race, disability, ethnicity) continues. While there are dangerous and inappropriate behaviors in schools, data show that many suspensions do not come from the most dangerous behaviors, but from an over-use of suspension for more minor infractions. This is a national issue, but the data showing that Syracuse City School District (SCSD) has a disproportionate number of suspensions compared to other urban districts is a compelling reason why change is needed. The attorney general's participation in this issue signals the high stakes involved, further necessitating moving away from an over-reliance on suspension.
Psychology class hopes to implement Restorative Justice
from the article in the Sonoma State Star:
A psychology course is spawning a wave of support for the implementation of Restorative Justice at Sonoma State University.
Partnering with Restorative Resources of Santa Rosa, two students from psychology professor Maria Hess’s Intro to Community Mental Health class, Lauren Dillier and Cody Hoffman-Brown, presented their research concerning the topic at an open-forum presentation on Wednesday, April 23. At the forum presentation, held in the Bennett Valley room of the Student Center, Dillier and Hoffman-Brown voiced their hope for its application throughout the Sonoma State community in the future.
Close to Home: Zero tolerance or restorative justice?
from the article by David Sortino:
The Obama administration's push to eliminate a zero-tolerance discipline philosophy in American public schools was long overdue.
Zero tolerance is a tool that became popular in the 1990s, supporting uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or possession of a weapon. Violators could lose classroom time and even be saddled with a criminal record. The recommendations encouraged schools to ensure that all school personnel be trained in classroom management, conflict resolution and approaches to de-escalate classroom disruptions.