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Case Studies

Articles discussing the use of restorative practices in individual cases.

Editor. There’s no Justice, Just Us...
Established in 1986 Southwark Mediation Centre (SMC) is one of the oldest community mediation centres in Europe. In the last issue we looked at the success of SMCs’ Hate Crimes Project which is effectively tackling cases of racial abuse using a restorative approach. Alongside that project, the SMC runs two others, the second specialising in Neighbour Disputes and Anti-social Behaviour, the third, training Peer Mediators in Schools. SMC started working with schools in the early 1990s. In this article we look at how SMC's Peer Mediation Project is working to effectively deal not only with conflict arising in the school setting, but to resolve disputes between young people in the wider community. Finally we take a look at how SMC is taking this work forward in partnership with one particular group of enthusiastic young Mediators at Bacon’s College, Rotherhithe. (excerpt)
. The Fairness Committee: Restorative justice in a small urban public high school.
This article focuses on one school, Humanities Preparatory Academy (Prep), a small New York City public high school that uses a restorative justice model called the Fairness Committee (Fairness) to address community norm violations. It is based on a two-year ethnographic study conducted between 2006 and 2008 that examined how both current and former students made meaning of their experience at this school that emphasizes democratic and participatory practices. Drawing on data collected through participant observation at the school, interviews with former and current students, and surveys, the article highlights youth experiences to illuminate the ways that Fairness contributes to their overall school experience. It specifically describes how the Fairness works in the school, and captures participants' responses to this process. (excerpt)
Editor. Video Review: An Introduction to Restorative Practices at Endeavour High School
A report on the results of restorative justice procedures instituted at Endeavour High School in England. The use of such methods as circles and discussion has improved behavior, increased the sense of community in the school and the larger community around it, and contributed to positive relationships between the students and the teachers.
Costello, Bob and Wachtel, Joshua and Wachtel, Ted. Restorative Circles in Schools: Building Community and Enhancing Learning
Restorative Circles in Schools is an in-depth guidebook on the use of the circle, an essential restorative practice for schools. The book includes a wealth of practical knowledge on circles, drawn from the experience of the International Institute for Restorative Practices, which has worked in a wide variety of settings worldwide. Stories from numerous educators illustrate the circle's use in diverse situations, including proactive circles for improving relationships and enhancing academics, responsive circles to solve problems and address conflict, and circles to address issues among faculty, staff, and administrators. (Excerpt)
Loftus, Patrick J.. Restorative Justice in Secondary Schools.
This thesis discusses adolescent psychology, experiential education, adventure education, service-learning, and restorative justice in the context of creating a restorative justice curriculum for a low income, inner city, and secondary school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The curriculum was developed throughout a year of working with students at Capital High School and refined throughout the implementation process. The curriculum includes standards, administrative set up, unit outlines, and specific restorative justice encounters. It is designed in a way that allows it to adapt in order to fit the facilitator and specific site needs of any secondary school. (Excerpt).
Buckeridge, Susan. Near Chaos to Near Calm.
Aldercourt P.S., Frankston North, is on a journey of improvement in student social wellbeing, self esteem and resilience. Changes in behaviour management practices have improved student connectedness to school which has led to improvements in learning. Restorative Practices have led these behavioural changes. Respect for one another and explicit rules and responsibilities have changed attitudes. An explicit Social Skills teaching program operates weekly. Literacy and numeracy are paramount. Aldercourt is committed to the improved learning of all students to achieve personal success. A playgroup connects parents to each other in a casual environment. Local groups assist in achieving our aim of connecting the community and providing the best possible school environment. Building relationships with each other, parents, local community, local businesses, local community associations and agencies like Ardoch and the Gould League enriches the school experience further. (This PowerPoint is from a workshop presentation about the Aldercourt P.S. experience).
Fertal, Thomas. How restorative practices made me a high school principal.
From the very beginning, I must say that the concepts I had learned at the IIRP showed their worth: Fair process,functioning as a community and compassionate witnessing. All of these became the tools I used in dealing with faculty, parents, board members and students. I was implementing restorative practices in every aspect of my work, in that I directly involved people in matters that concerned them and gave everyone a voice. Open and honest communication was critical, as was transparent leadership. Faculty members were now involved in decisions that they had never been privy to before, such as creating an overall teacher pay scale and the decision to drop class rank. Collaboration with board members reached new levels. People wanted to be heard. People wanted to have a say. I listened to them and engaged them.
Burnett, Steven Wayne. School Achievement for Students with Behavioral Disorders.
The purpose of the descriptive qualitative study was to examine the successful strategies,accommodations, and interventions utilized for students with emotional behavior disorder(EBD) and the influences they have on the students’ academic achievement (GPA, passage rates of courses, passage rates of state mandated assessments, student satisfaction, attendance rates, and disciplinary infractions) and glean greater understanding of instructional strategies and environmental differences alternative schools offer to students with EBD. In addition to a parent and a student with EBD, an alternative school staff was analyzed in rich detail to glean understanding of environmental influences. Data were collected using document analysis, surveys, field notes, and interviewing techniques. Findings of the study provide educators with organizational structures and strategies to help students with EBD achieve academically, pass No Child Left Behind (NCLB) assessments, and graduate from high school. (Excerpt).
Mateer, Susan Caro. The use of restorative justice practices in a school community traumatized by an incident of planned school violence: A case study.
In 2001, less than two years after the Columbine High School shootings, a plan to copycat the Columbine shooting in a junior high school was interrupted by police. This was one of the first documented cases of interrupted school violence and the school where this was to occur was traumatized both by the fact that students were planning violence and the attention given to the event by the media. Even though no one was physically hurt, the school community was shocked and victimized. Eventually, three junior high school students reached plea agreement through the courts for their part in the incident and were sentenced to juvenile corrections. The school was left to pick up the pieces and attempt to understand how this could have happened. This study uses a case study format and interviews with involved administrators, teachers and juvenile justice practitioners to document how the school community recovered from this event - restored and transformed. It looks at how the responses to the trauma were based in restorative justice values and beliefs and why restorative justice played such an important part in the recovery. The school used restorative justice practices that were uniquely suited to the event and responsive to the healing needs of the community at the time. These responses; the Tree, the community meeting, the Summit, the talking piece rock, the mascot statue; all served a purpose at the time and all were steeped in restorative values. In time, a traditional restorative justice conference was held in which two of the offending students responded to the concerns of the school and were welcomed back to the community. Restorative justice has traditionally been about repairing the harm caused by crime. In this situation not only was the harm repaired, but the community used the pain created by the harm to create transformation, a transformation that resulted in a very good school becoming even better. What was transformational is that each of the actions taken by the school served not only to repair the harm caused by the event but served to raise the community to higher levels of safety, interdependence, respect, and inclusivity. This research documents how one school community used restorative practices to bring about transformational social justice. (author's abstract)
Mirsky, Laura. SaferSanerSchools: Transforming School Cultures with Restorative Practices.
High levels of disruptive behaviour, discipline referrals, and suspensions are among the symptoms of schools which have lost the bonds of respect. Educators face major challenges in transforming these school cultures. This article describes how restorative practices were implemented in certain southeastern Pennsylvania schools. The process of change is described from the perspective of faculty, students, administrators, and other community stakeholders. (author's abstract)

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