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.
Five act lesson cycle: Humor in the classroom
The Bard’s plays usually end in one of two ways depending upon their particular genre of theater. In essence, disharmony is created in the audience through the characters and their actions. Through the course of the dramatic arc, resolution is achieved by the fifth and final act. Shakespeare’s two forms of resolution are based upon whether the nature of the play is tragic or comedic. For tragic works, the resolution is retributive justice. Wrongs have been avenged. Conversely, for comedic works, the resolution is restorative justice. The imbalance in the plot is corrected and the situation is set aright.
Applying a restorative justice approach to student conduct
....Taking an RJ approach requires a philosophical shift for the student conduct office – it entails new sets of questions for student conduct hearings and an alert ear for cases in which there is the possibility to restore harm that’s been done, rather than simply (or only) penalize.
....To learn more about how to make a restorative justice program most successful, we interviewed two officials from Colorado State University, which has frequently been recognized for its restorative justice and other student conduct programs. The two officials are Paul Osincup and Melissa Emerson, the associate and assistant directors of conflict resolution and student conduct services at CSU. Paul Osincup holds student conduct hearings; Melissa Emerson manages the restorative justice process once a student has been referred as a likely RJ candidate.
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.
Restorative Justice in schools, further reading resources!
The newest item published for school based restorative justice: http://www.acschoolhealth.org/Docs/Restorative-Justice-Paper.pdf.
I would also recommend:
Intertwined: Community conflict management in the school
from the website of Forsee Research Group:
The 27 minute film created within the programme targets secondary school students essentially, with the most important aim of supporting the responsiveness to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) with audiovisual tools. The above is realised primarily through the demonstration of the fundamental principles of ADR in educational situations, moreover, the film also cites a non-violent resolution of a specific in-school case, presenting the steps, methods and tools applied in the process. We intend to make the audience think and reflect on their own conflict resolution practices: to re-enforce their positive practices and to face ‘violent’ dispute resolution routines either applied or sustained by them.
The film is presented by trained moderator pairs in the frame of a film and discussion workshop, through a pre-defined theme.
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.
Campbelltown Primary School's justice for all sees grades rise and behaviour improve
Deputy principal Graeme Shugg said the effect of restorative practices at Campbelltown was immediate. "Teachers reported change within two weeks in their classes," he said.
"We empower kids to question and take responsibility for what they've done and repair the harm and allow the victim to have a say. The bottom line is, the people involved in the problem are the best people to solve the problem."
Suspensions dropped from 86 in 2003 to just 33 last year. In 2003, students were sent to the principal for discipline 683 times. Last year there were 76 referrals to the office.
from Tom Cavanagh's blog Restorative Justice, Culture of Care in Schools, and Restorative Practices in Schools:
This book contributes to the existing literature in the fields of restorative justice, bullying, and school violence by presenting what might be called case studies regarding a female student and male student who are harmed by bullying. These case studies or stories focus not only on those harmed by bullying but also those causing the harm, as well as onlookers, educators (particularly teachers and counselors), administrators, and members of the affected community.