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Articles exploring the inclusion of restorative practices in the school environment including statement of good practice.

TEA grant to School of Social Work Will take innovative discipline program statewide
from the University of Texas press release: School and district administrators across Texas will be offered training in Restorative Discipline, an alternative to “zero tolerance” methods, through a grant from the Texas Education Agency to the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue (IRJRD) at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. Restorative Discipline is a prevention-oriented approach that fosters accountability and amends-making to resolve school conflict such as bullying, truancy and disruptive behavior. The $521,000 grant will be used to conduct training sessions in Restorative Discipline in 10 Education Service Centers, which provide support to school districts and charter schools throughout the state....
Suspensions, expulsions fall
from the article by Pat Maio in U-T San Diego: Suspensions and expulsions fell dramatically at public schools in San Diego County in 2013-14 as educators embraced alternative ways to keep kids in school ahead of a new state law aimed at softening how disruptive students are disciplined. The decline in students getting kicked out of school was echoed throughout the state, according to data recently released by the California Department of Education....
In school discipline, intervention may work better than punishment
from the article by Claudia Rowe in the Seattle Times: Instead of sending the three smokers home with a litany of their failings, Levine sat face to face with each, explaining what it felt like to have his trust violated. He read them testimony from other teachers, who spoke of their belief in the young women — how they had a chance to go to college, build a career, leave their difficult family lives behind. By the end of her hour-long conference, 18-year-old Monae Trevino was weeping. Afterward, she signed a contract setting out ways to make amends: by leading three student discussions on questions surrounding drug use, each of which meant significant research; reading two works of college-level literature and writing a related essay.
An alternative to suspension and expulsion: 'Circle up!'
from the story by Eric Westervelt on NPR: Oakland Unified, one of California's largest districts, has been a national leader in expanding restorative justice. The district is one-third African-American and more than 70 percent low-income. The program was expanded after a federal civil rights agreement in 2012 to reduce school discipline inequity for African-American students. At Edna Brewer Middle School, the fact that students are taking the lead — that so many want to be part of this effort — shows that it's starting to take root. "Instead of throwing a punch, they're asking for a circle, they're backing off and asking to mediate it peacefully with words," says Ta-Biti Gibson, the school's restorative justice co-director. "And that's a great thing."
Peace room trumps suspensions at Lincoln Park High School
from the article by Paul Biasco on DNAinfo Chicago: During his seven years as assistant principal at Kenwood Academy, Michael Boraz learned to believe that punitive justice was the way to a disciplined and well-oiled school. The idea of a "peace circle" to handle problems rather than a five-day suspension or even a transfer was almost laughable to him.
Merced County high schools see the benefits of restorative justice discipline model
from the article by Ana B. Ibarra in the Merced Sun Star: High school officials in Merced County are taking a new approach at improving discipline policies on campuses, and that approach is showing a significant improvement in student participation and wellness, according to a new report. Restorative justice policies, which focus on non-adversarial and dialogue-based decisionmaking, are proving to be more effective than zero-tolerance practices, school officials said during a presentation last week.
Restoring justice: Sonoma County and beyond
from the article by John Beck in Sonomoa County Gazette: Last summer, when the Santa Rosa City Schools District was looking for a way to curb the fourth highest rate of suspensions in the state, it turned to restorative justice as the solution. “We were almost an outlier,” said Jen Klose, Santa City Schools board member. “We had truly become zero tolerance.” Searching for a new paradigm for discipline, Santa Rosa City Schools board president Bill Carle said, “We started focusing on how do we do this in a different way, and that’s when we found restorative justice.”
Protective Behaviours: A new approach to being safe
from the blog entry by Liz Bates on Health Education Service: There is a difference between telling children and young people what is a dangerous situation or dangerous behaviour, and helping them to recognise for them selves what it means to feel safe or unsafe.
Does ‘restorative justice’ in campus sexual assault cases make sense?
from the article by Meg Mott in the Washington Post: It makes sense that victim advocates put personal safety above all other considerations. They meet her when she is most distraught. But that particular emotional reality, while very big, is not necessarily permanent. In cases of acquaintance rape, the urge to be protected from the offender often competes with the equally strong urge to be heard.
Eschum on Just care: Restorative justice approaches to working with children in public care.
My son is on the spectrum. He is capable of feeling empathy and when he has been the offender he needs to hear how his [...]
Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior
from the article on Spacewhat: The mom and her 15-year-old son are so palpably nervous you can almost see anxiety ions in the air. He’s committed a seriously foolish act. He and Mom want to cooperate with a restorative conference as an alternative to his getting arrested. He’s not a bad kid, but like so many kids these days — and so many adults as well — the rules don’t really apply to him. While immature and a goofball, his antics can be funny, some of the time. But the joking can also be irritating, disruptive and obnoxious. This time Goofball crossed a line, a personal violation, that freaked a teacher out to the point where she considered pressing charges — and had every right to do so. But his behavior was not malicious.
Restorative justice in education – possibilities, but also concerns
from the blog article by Kathy Evans: There is a great deal of momentum right now for implementing restorative justice in education. This makes me incredibly excited – and a bit nervous. Let’s start with the good news! RJ is gaining lots of attention in education. Recently, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education came together to issue a colleague letter alerting schools that they can be cited for disproportionately disciplining students in certain categories. These federal agencies then recommended restorative justice as one way to address disproportionate discipline in schools!
Close to Home: Success of restorative program shows in numbers
from the article in the Press Democrat: Last October, after the Santa Rosa City Council approved funding to introduce restorative practices in schools, The Press Democrat ran an editorial that stated, “Spending $125,000 on a one-year pilot program is a lot to ask — especially for the Santa Rosa City Schools District. But in this case, it's money well spent.”
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.”
Twila on Defending restorative discipline
It's important to try and reach as many children as possible. Students are not all cut from the same clothe, but they are able to [...]
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.
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.

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