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

Longmont Community Justice Partnership on Defending restorative discipline
Thank-you for your article. There is nothing more important than getting as many kids safely through school and graduation. It is just great to hear [...]
Jeremy on Defending restorative discipline
Addendum: The context of this is a critique of restorative discipline by Ruben Navarette on CNN and can be found at
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.
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.
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.
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.
Restorative classroom practice
from the manual from Belinda Hopkins: This short booklet uses extracts from our various publications to give classroom teachers in particular an idea of what restorative approaches might mean applied in their day-to-day work. Although people tend to think of restorative approaches applying only when things go wrong, in fact the pro-active elements are by far the most important. In this regard there is overlap with work your school may already be doing to develop active and more participatory teaching and learning styles, social and emotional skills, community cohesion, greater student voice and participation, and preventative policies to minimise the risk of bullying.
Restorative discipline program in San Antonio middle school reduces student suspensions
from the article on the University of Texas at Austin website: A San Antonio middle school with some of the highest discipline rates in its district has experienced an 84 percent drop in off-campus suspensions during the past year since administrators began using “restorative discipline” as an alternative to “zero tolerance” to deal with conflicts among students.
Bronx schools reduce policing and suspensions with support from parents
from the article by Dinu Ahmed: On Saturday, November 16th, members of the Bronx School Justice coalition held a public report back on a year's worth of work to reduce punitive disciplinary measures in Bronx public schools. Instead they are advocating for the use of restorative justice practices and positive disciplinary alternatives in schools. Nearly 120 community members joined parents, students, local elect eds and key officials in the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and New York Police Department's School Safety Division for the event.
Three Ways Capoeira Upped My Organizing Game
from the blog article by Jeremy Lahoud: Every organizer knows that awful moment, that slow stomach-churning realization that your campaign is about to hit a dead end. I had that moment recently in the work I was doing with a coalition of local youth organizations fighting for Restorative Justice in public schools. Unlike harsh and ineffective “zero tolerance” policies, Restorative Justice programs create a way for those who have committed harm to dialogue with those who have been harmed, to understand what happened, agree on a remedy, and build relationships that reduce the possibility of future harm. Deep in our bones we wanted Restorative Justice and an end to the disciplinary policies that push out large numbers of African American, Latino, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander students every year.
Lisa Rea on A missing piece in the fight against bullying
Thank you for this article. We agree that restorative justice is a missing piece in the response to bullying in the U.S. or globally. As [...]
A missing piece in the fight against bullying
from the article by Kevin Golembiewski on Bridge 50: Although it has received significant media coverage over the past few years and nearly every state has passed anti-bullying legislation, bullying remains a pervasive problem in schools across the nation. Nearly one-third of U.S. students aged 12 to 18 are bullied each year, and stories of bullying victims committing suicide are becoming more and more common.

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