Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior
from the article on Spacewhat:
The mom and her 15-year-old son are so palpably nervous you can almost see anxiety ions in the air. He’s committed a seriously foolish act. He and Mom want to cooperate with a restorative conference as an alternative to his getting arrested.
He’s not a bad kid, but like so many kids these days — and so many adults as well — the rules don’t really apply to him. While immature and a goofball, his antics can be funny, some of the time. But the joking can also be irritating, disruptive and obnoxious. This time Goofball crossed a line, a personal violation, that freaked a teacher out to the point where she considered pressing charges — and had every right to do so. But his behavior was not malicious.
For New Orleans, restorative justice means reconciliation
from the article in the Ionia Sentinel Standard:
When Chris Gunther, New Orleans, La.'s coordinator for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and a Health Department lead, reached out to stakeholders throughout New Orleans, a student advocacy group called Rethinkers made clear to him and his Forum team the need to expand restorative approaches to conflict in schools.
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.