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."
How to settle the Pacetti affair — without politics
The problem of Massimo Pacetti seems to be one with no obvious solution.
The Montreal MP was kicked out of the Liberal caucus by Justin Trudeau after an NDP MP came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. His accuser — like a lot of women in similar circumstances — has rejected going the justice system route. Parliament has no process in place to deal with such cases....
Mr. Pacetti's accuser has said that she doesn't want “vengeance … It is only a desire to be heard, a desire to have an apology, a desire, in the end, to heal.”
Oregon’s 'Forever Crimes' law hurts Black families
A law that was designed to keep students safe is having the opposite effect on some students—especially youth of color.
Oregon Statute 342.143 lists 69 crimes that disqualify you from working in an Oregon school. Anyone who has committed one of these “Forever Crimes” is barred from working with students forever. No matter how long ago the crime was committed, or how much good the person has done since, “Forever Crimes” never go away.
What’s more, Oregon school districts have extended the law to apply to volunteers. That means if you were convicted of selling drugs within 1000 feet of a school or sexting a picture of your girlfriend when you were a teenager, you can forget about volunteering in your daughter’s classroom or going on a field trip with your grandson....
Philly to host first-ever ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ youth hackathon next week
Minority youth will become civic hackers at the first “My Brother’s Keeper” hackathon next week.
It’s a response to President Obama’s call to action for organizations to help black boys succeed. Though the hackathon is geared toward boys, girls are also welcome. Participants will build apps around “education, wellness, restorative justice, food, sustainability and masculinity,” according to a release.
Peace room trumps suspensions at Lincoln Park High School
During his seven years as assistant principal at Kenwood Academy, Michael Boraz learned to believe that punitive justice was the way to a disciplined and well-oiled school.
The idea of a "peace circle" to handle problems rather than a five-day suspension or even a transfer was almost laughable to him.
Merced County high schools see the benefits of restorative justice discipline model
High school officials in Merced County are taking a new approach at improving discipline policies on campuses, and that approach is showing a significant improvement in student participation and wellness, according to a new report.
Restorative justice policies, which focus on non-adversarial and dialogue-based decisionmaking, are proving to be more effective than zero-tolerance practices, school officials said during a presentation last week.
Restoring justice: Sonoma County and beyond
Last summer, when the Santa Rosa City Schools District was looking for a way to curb the fourth highest rate of suspensions in the state, it turned to restorative justice as the solution.
“We were almost an outlier,” said Jen Klose, Santa City Schools board member. “We had truly become zero tolerance.”
Searching for a new paradigm for discipline, Santa Rosa City Schools board president Bill Carle said, “We started focusing on how do we do this in a different way, and that’s when we found restorative justice.”
Justice in Ferguson, Missouri: Can restorative justice apply here?
I have worked in the area of civil rights in the past. I include my restorative justice work in the last 20 years as being part of that civil rights work.
But in the 1980s I also served on a local civil rights coalition in the Sacramento area in California where our focus was to respond to acts of racial hatred in the region. This included acts of racial violence and intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi party.
Another road to justice
from the article in Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
The group of men listens, mesmerized, as Lynn BeBeau talks about the last time she saw her husband alive.
"I told him the same thing I always did: `I love you. Be careful.' "
Her husband grinned back.
"Honey, don't worry about me. Me and God are like this." He held up two crossed fingers and smiled.
Hours later, the Eau Claire police officer was shot to death in the line of duty.
The hulking men in prison greens sit perfectly still as BeBeau fights back tears. They are murderers, armed robbers, drug dealers, child molesters.
Breaking a vicious cycle [Editorial]
from the article in the Baltimore Sun:
For far too many young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, an arrest or conviction for even a minor, non-violent offense can become a one-way ticket to a shrunken future that slams the door on opportunities for the rest of their lives. Being arrested as a teen increases a person's chances of being arrested again as an adult, and teenagers sentenced to jail are more likely to be incarcerated later in life as well. Add to that the nation's harsh drug laws and stiff mandatory minimum sentencing policies and it's no wonder America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world.