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.
Circles: Healing through restorative justice
from the article by Laurel J. Felt:
“Who or what inspires you to be your best self?”
This is hardly the question that most Angelenos would ask at 9:30 in the morning on a gray, rainy Saturday. But for the 80+ adults and youth who gathered on March 2 at Mendez Learning Center in Boyle Heights, this introspective query kicked off “Circles,” a rich, daylong exploration of Restorative Justice.
Restorative justice for everyone: An innovative program and case study from Turners Falls High School in Massachusetts
from the article by David Bulley and Thomas Osborn:
Restorative Justice generally exists as an alternative to traditional discipline. In most schools a student who acts out will be referred to the assistant principal or to the dean of students who then makes a determination: Is the student a candidate for restorative justice or should they be disciplined the traditional way of detentions or suspensions? Often this includes a choice by the student. In fact, as part of most restorative conferences, the perpetrator is informed that participation is voluntary and that at any time they can opt out and subject themselves to traditional justice. One problem with this system is that too many students welcome an out of school suspension.
Defending restorative discipline
by Jeremy Simons
When I started working at Cole Middle School in inner city Denver in 2003, it was ranked dead last in the entire state of Colorado, with proficiency scores on standardized testing (CSAP) in the single digits. It would later be shut down by the state and turned into a charter school, which was also closed after 3 years, in a bizarre attempt at school “accountability.”
Student misbehavior went hand in hand with the academic problems, with hundreds of students suspended every year and substitute teachers bullied out of the building by students. Local residents called the school a “gang factory.” Police cruisers were regularly parked outside with officers escorting students out between the elegant Doric columns supporting the main entrance, grand reminders of forgotten days when the school produced graduates rather than criminals. It was a sad example of what community activists and parents were just beginning to call the “school to prison pipeline”.
IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools program to be evaluated in randomized trial in 15 urban schools nationwide
from the article on Restorative Works learning network:
The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education to conduct a three-year randomized field trial evaluation of the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program. The study will establish the impact of school-wide restorative practices on reducing disparities in discipline and overall rates of suspensions, arrests and expulsions in high poverty-area middle and high schools that also have significant proportions of students of color.
Advocating for restorative practice within schools
from the paper by Holli Vah Seliskar:
There are relatively few qualitative studies on the overall effectiveness of restorative justice practices within schools and its impact on youth. What works for schools in terms of implementing a restorative justice framework, the perceptions of benefits, obstacles, and challenges from the viewpoint of the student, the teacher, and the principal or restorative coordinator is still largely unknown. Moreover, qualitative research of restorative justice programs and their overall effectiveness have traditionally focused on its affects/effects within the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system, and have not necessarily been applied to its affect/effect within schools.