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Restorative Practices – Latest Interesting News Stories

These are the latest interesting stories about restorative practices with links and my comments.

Restorative justice in Catholic schools gets to root of student conflict

Previous punitive measures drained school resources, says St. Benedict Catholic Secondary principal.

Rather than immediate suspension or using detentions, some Catholic schools in Waterloo region are choosing to sit students down for a frank conversation instead.

St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge is one participating school in an approach they call "restorative justice," where a mediator is brought in to help get to the root of conflict.

"It's learning how to be in relationship with somebody," said Shelley Schanzenbacher, restorative justice practitioner at Community Justice Initiatives Waterloo Region. She works with students in the schools as a mediator. [ click here to read more ]

My comment:
I find this article interesting, as this school has been able to gain notable results in a relatively short time period. In the end of the article there is a hint why this is so: the school culture is shifting.

The school culture is not easy to change from a punitive one to a restorative one.
However, as the main part of the teachers and other staff members take part and are willing to work on the matters, good outcomes are possible.
Restorative practices originate from justice practices. The younger the pupils or students are when we teach them conflict resolution skills and empathy, the better they will become.  

Salt Lake lawmaker urges restorative justice to better manage school discipline

A House resolution that urges the state's school system to implement restorative justice programs to better address student discipline was endorsed Friday by the House Education Committee.

The bill moves to the full House for further consideration.

HR1, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, notes that restorative justice programs help students stay in school and deal with their challenges in healthy, constructive ways.

Hollins, who is a social worker, said she became interested in the approach while working with homeless clients who had been suspended or expelled from school as punishment for misbehavior that was often linked to trauma they were experiencing.

According to the resolution, restorative justice has been used extensively "to divert people from criminal justice systems and as a program for convicted offenders already in the adult or juvenile justice systems."

The approach shifts the emphasis from managing behavior by focusing on "the building, nurturing and repairing of relationships while retaining the ability to hold misbehaving students accountable," the resolution states.
[ click here to read more ]

Homer Flex High School is adopting restorative justice

The approach to classroom management is shifting across the nation. Over the past decade, many educators and communities have grown frustrated with traditional punishment-focused discipline in the classroom. These schools are now trying something new: restorative justice.

This practice uses relationship building to both prevent and manage conflict in schools. Homer Flex High School is the first of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to receive a training on it.

Math and science teacher Lindsay Martin talked with a Homer Flex high schooler at a training on Saturday about plans to create a circle where each student can talk without being interrupted.

“How many times do you think we should go around the circle?”  Martin asked the student. 
[ click here to read more ]

Lake Oswego School District says it will use 'restorative practices' at all schools

Alternative to traditional punishment models aims to empower students to help resolve their own problems.

When a Post-it note containing racist language was passed to an African American student at Lake Oswego Junior High in late January, an outraged community reacted not only to the incident itself but also to the punishment given to the perpetrators.

One of the students was given a one-day suspension, several sources told The Review, while two others were assigned to in-school detentions. That sparked a demand for stiffer penalties from the victim's mother and from others in Lake Oswego, who took to social media to demand that the school district uphold a zero-tolerance policy. 
[ click here to read more ]

Putting conflict resolution into kids’ hands

When asked if they felt at ease at their school, every hand went up in Kathleen Erickson’s restorative justice class at Valley View Middle School.

The 30 or so sixth- through eighth-graders in Erickson’s class practice a simple formula for defusing disputes and problems on campus that can in some instances escalate into worrisome situations.

They talk.

In restorative justice, students take some responsibility for disciplining peers who’ve broken school rules by ditching class or vaping, for example—offenses that usually get a kid in trouble or even suspended.

To be sure, students still go to the principal’s office when they’re caught doing something wrong. But now, instead of getting detention or a suspension, offending students can go before a panel of their peers to mediate a resolution and make amends.

Think of it as an intermediary step before suspension, said social studies teacher Traci Bowden, who together with Erickson created the class as an elective three years ago.
[ click here to read more ]


How to become a restorative school – Part 1: The case for embracing it

In the first of a three-part series, Tom Procter-Legg sets out how the process is changing challenging behaviour for good at his school. Here, he offers the theory behind why restorative justice works, ahead of advice on how to put it into practice. [ click here to read more ]

My comment:
This is such an inspiring article! I think all schools should focus on restorative practices instead of punishments.
The core skill that all humans need is empathy.

The restorative approach makes one walk in other one’s shoes and learn different perspective - and empathy.
Further, the development of empathy leads into development of better emotional intelligence and happier children, adolescence and eventually adults!