Discipline with dignity: Oakland classrooms try healing instead of punishment
from the article by Fania Davis:
Tommy, an agitated 14-year-old high school student in Oakland, Calif., was in the hallway cursing out his teacher at the top of his lungs. A few minutes earlier, in the classroom, he’d called her a “b___” after she twice told him to lift his head from the desk and sit up straight. Eric Butler, the school coordinator for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY—the author is executive director of the organization) heard the ruckus and rushed to the scene. The principal also heard it and appeared. Though Butler tried to engage him in conversation, Tommy was in a rage and heard nothing. He even took a swing at Butler that missed. Grabbing the walkie-talkie to call security, the principal angrily told Tommy he would be suspended.
Central makes restorative justice part of the day
from the article in the Chilliwack Progress:
Even though Chilliwack school district doesn't have an official restorative action policy in place, there are several schools in the district implementing restorative practices.
None more so than at Central elementary.
Every morning, each class at Central starts its day with a "check-in" talking circle for teachers to gauge their students emotional well-being, and for students to share their feelings – good and bad.
San Francisco’s El Dorado Elementary uses trauma-informed & restorative practices; suspensions drop 89%
from the article in Social Justice Solutions:
For one young student – let’s call him Martin — the 2012-2013 school year at El Dorado Elementary in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco was a tough one, recalls Joyce Dorado, director of UCSF HEARTS — Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools.
“He was hurting himself in the classroom, kicking the teacher, just blowing out of class many times a week.” There was good reason. The five-year-old was exposed to chronic violence and suffered traumatic losses. His explosions were normal reactions to events that overwhelmed him.
Conflict resolution for children in schools through mediation and restorative dialogue
from the article on Save the Children:
A round table was organized by Save the Children in partnership with Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution (AFCR), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and Swedish Assistance for Policy in Community (SACP) on January 29, 2013. The round table discussions emphasized that providing tools and skills for children, teachers, parents and professionals on how to prevent and resolve conflicts can lead to a reduction of violence and promotion of a safer school environment. Effective conflict resolution strategies and models involving schools and community are vitally important to ensure progress in this area. These were the main messages flagged by the participants in the round table ranging from the Minister of Education, Save the Children, UNICEF, SACP, AFCR, to teachers, education specialists, and psychologists from Tirana and Elbasan involved in a conflict resolution program through mediation and restorative dialogue.
Advice for teachers to help prevent misbehavior in their classroom
from the article by Dr. John Bailie:
Being a teacher with students who regularly misbehave can be a troubling aspect of the academic world. It can cause you to lose hope with your students and ultimately become unhappy with your job in general. Fortunately, there are ways in which you, as an educator, can encourage your students to behave in and outside of the classroom, without simply sending them to the principal’s office or to detention. And it all starts in the classroom.
You should actively encourage a personal relationship between you and your students, and do what you can to foster a collaborative learning environment. Your students aren’t just mindless workers in a factory, they are individuals who want to learn and grow into functioning adults. To help you help your students, here is some advice.
Restorative Circles program builds empathy, conflict resolution skills in middle school students
from the article on Rapid Growth:
Rather than punishing and shaming students for disruptive behavior, a pilot program called Restorative Circles aims to help them explore what happened, reflect on their role, and restore harmony to relationships and in the larger school community.
The program at Wyoming’s Godfrey Lee Middle School launched last fall as a new outreach of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan, a local nonprofit with the mission of helping people to solve their differences peacefully and constructively using a trained mediator. The center reached out to Godfrey Lee to administer the two-year pilot program, which is being funded through several grants.
Bethlehem woman's mystery novel explores progressive form of justice
from the article in The Morning Call:
A large photo of the hulking Bethlehem Steel plant adorns the cover of Margaret Murray's mystery novel "Forging Justice" so it's no surprise that a restaurant called the Apollo Grill and a hospital named St. Luke's make appearances in its literary landscape.
But the local high school? Its name is "Democracy." It would appear that Murray, who lives on Third Street in the south side of Bethlehem, has taken a page from famed novelist and Pottsville native John O'Hara. O'Hara wrote about the coal region town of Gibbsville in his iconic novel "Appointment in Samara" with its residents of "Lantenengo Street," which is the spitting image of Pottsville's Mahantongo Street.
Jan 16, 2014 School
How to discipline students without turning school into a prison
from the article from the Atlantic:
For years a body of troubling evidence has been building that reveals racially discriminatory practices in school disciplinary measures. Black and Latino children are more likely to be disciplined, be more severely disciplined, and are more frequently are suspended or expelled or sent to special alternative schools. "Zero-tolerance" policies that presume all explanations for infractions as small as being late to school are excuses and there’s no such thing as mitigating circumstances have been particularly hurtful to poor black and Latino students. Supporters of zero tolerance say the policies are designed to teach accountability and maintain order in some of the country’s most dangerous schools; critics say they push at-risk kids who need the most help and attention out of school and send a message that they’re not wanted. Simultaneously, schools have over the years more heavily relied on law enforcement and courts to deal with problem students, creating the so called "school-to-prison pipeline" that for many perpetuates into adulthood.
Alexandria students push for alternatives to suspension
from the article in the Washington Post:
Although Alexandria schools officials have agreed to implement a restorative justice pilot program at T.C. Williams High School this year in an effort to deal with the racially lopsided results of its school discipline policies, the program has yet to begin, leaving some students frustrated.
Shannon Snapp: Restorative justice works: Give it a chance
from the article on the Arizona Daily Star:
Every student has the right to learn in a school that is safe and equitable. Conflicts arise daily in schools, and historically schools have used a zero-tolerance approach to discipline students.
Zero tolerance results in automatic detention, suspension or expulsion for misbehavior , all practices that exclude students from school. On the surface, it may seem like zero-tolerance approaches are efficient and effective, but more than 20 years of research has shown the opposite. Violence has not disappeared from schools with zero-tolerance policies, nor have these policies led to less school disruption.