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.
Restorative group conferencing and sexting: Repairing harm in Wright County
from the article by Nancy Riestenberg:
Three years ago, in a middle school in Wright County, Minnesota, students discovered sexually explicit pictures of a student on the cell phone of her boyfriend. The students ran to the bathroom with the cell phone and sent the pictures on to eight other students. By the time the adults in the school discovered them, many student cell phones had received the pictures. The administration asked the school resource officer from the Sheriff’s Office to investigate. Potentially many students could be charged with sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures of a minor, a felony offense. What was the County Attorney going to do?
Children’s right to participate: Implications for school discipline
from the article by Mariëtte Reyneke:
Children’s rights are often divided into prevention, protection and participation rights. The right to be heard or the right to express views are some of the manifestations of the participation rights of children. One of the main points of contention in the children’s rights debate pertaining to participation rights is to find a balance between, on the one hand, the child’s lack of full autonomy and capacity, and, on the other, the recognition that the child is an active subject of human rights, with an own personality, integrity and ability to participate freely in society.
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.