Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools



Many teachers have had good experiences with the implementation of restorative practices in their classrooms. These resources both discuss such experiences and provide insights for including restorative principles and values into the classroom.

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."
Restorative discipline should be common practice to lower the dropout rate for both students and teachers
from the blog entry by Marilyn Armour in Know: ....Lacking specific training and skills in managing behavior issues, many teachers believe that youths, like themselves, should have the innate skills to manage their own conduct. Unfortunately, frequently used punitive measures send students spiraling toward suspensions, involvement in the juvenile justice system, and diminished motivation to engage in or finish school. Not surprising, student discipline correlates with dropout rates, and that’s particularly troubling in Texas where 25 percent of students fail to graduate.
Elementary school employs restorative practices to engage students in academics and respond to harm
from the article on Restorative Works learning network: “Usually teachers do too much talking,” said Mike Selvenis, principal of Thomas W. Holtzman Elementary School. “Restorative practices give teachers a way to get out of the way of students. Circles help make the classroom a comfortable place to get conversation going.”
Advice for teachers to help prevent misbehavior in their classroom
from the article by Dr. John Bailie: Being a teacher with students who regularly misbehave can be a troubling aspect of the academic world. It can cause you to lose hope with your students and ultimately become unhappy with your job in general. Fortunately, there are ways in which you, as an educator, can encourage your students to behave in and outside of the classroom, without simply sending them to the principal’s office or to detention. And it all starts in the classroom. You should actively encourage a personal relationship between you and your students, and do what you can to foster a collaborative learning environment. Your students aren’t just mindless workers in a factory, they are individuals who want to learn and grow into functioning adults. To help you help your students, here is some advice.
Call for more restorative justice plans
from the article by Fiona Gartland in the Irish Times: A restorative programme to help develop conflict resolution skills in west Tallaght in Dublin should be rolled out to all schools in Ireland, former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan has said. At the launch of a report evaluating the Restorative Practice Programme of the Childhood Development Initiative, Mr Lonergan said inter-community relationships “are at the very heart of the quality of life that people have”.
Maureen Lempke on Restorative Approaches Implementation Pack for schools
pdf e-version of our free pack containing all the information for the implementation pack
Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue
from the entry by Colette Kimball for the Prevention Researcher blog: ....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.
The challenges of teaching in the third millennium
from the letter by Sheilagh Knight to ….Thank you for your editorial “Holding Your Breath Won’t Win You Points,” which highlights teachers’ leadership role in the community and the enjoyment they can derive from leading extra-curricular activities. ….Teaching in the Third Millennium is a multi-layered, multi-faceted job. Not easy at all, because you are working with so many unique people and you can’t rely on routine when working with inquisitive youth. Below, I’ve made a list of what’s difficult about a teachers’ job nowadays – not to complain about the work I love, but rather, to showcase what we do.
Restorative justice is not enough: A new essay about school-based interventions in the carceral state
from the article by Jane Hereth, Mariame kaba, Erica R. Meiners, and Lewis Wallace: “Take her! Take her!” It’s 9:00 A.M. on Monday, and the visibly upset kindergarten teacher screams at me from across the hall. She is holding a six-year-old by her wrist. The little girl, with a dozen pink and white barrettes framing her tear-stained face, yells, “Get off me, let me go!” The teacher pushes the student toward me. I reach out my hand, and the little girl grabs it. “When should I bring her back?” I ask. “NEVER,” the teacher yells. “I don’t want her! Never bring her back!”
Restorative Approaches Implementation Pack for schools
from the website of Restorative Justice 4 Schools: We have seen so many schools wishing to develop a restorative approach re-invent so many of the same documents that we decided to produce a restorative approaches school implementation pack that we hope may support and guide you through this whole process.
Restorative justice community/classroom conferencing: A guide for parents and teachers
from the booklet by Nocole Pakan and the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities It may seem surprising, but many children and youth often misbehave, not because they are trying to harm or disrupt the well-being of others or because they are “bad kids,” but because they are simply trying to meet a personal need, albeit in a negative way. “Children’s behaviours are determined, for the most part, by how they feel about the current state of their physical and psychosocial needs.”
Nova Scotia spends $500K on 'restorative justice' bullying program in schools
from the article by Kris Sims in Sun News: Nova Scotia is spending $500,000 to expand anti-bullying campaigns in schools, hoping "restorative justice" methods modelled after native sentencing circles can curb the problem in the province. "Students will largely avoid the stigma of being 'sent to the office' or being suspended. We should not underestimate the negative side-effects of a child's experience at school if that experience involves multiple trips to the principal's office or suspensions from school," reads a government handout on the approach.
Restorative practices in the university: How two professors and a student worked together to resolve conflict
from the article by Mary Hoeft, Sarah Bennett and Altravis Lewis: Altravis sat in the back of my algebra class. He missed class often. His work showed evidence of his struggle. When I focused on him, I could see a look of disengagement. One day as I stood at the front of the classroom discussing a problem, I heard Altravis shout out in frustration. I was shaken and scared. I knew that his outburst had rattled students. After class, I approached Altravis and asked what was going on. He apologized and explained that it wouldn’t happen again.
'Restorative practices': Discipline but different
from the article by Nirvi Shah in Education Week: At City Springs and many other schools across the country, restorative practices are about holding students accountable and getting them to right a wrong. The approach is getting more notice than ever as criticism grows of zero-tolerance disciplinary policies that often require out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Educators are turning to restorative practices, peer courts in middle and high schools, and related efforts in the hopes of changing students' bad behaviors rather than simply kicking them out of school as punishment and risking disconnecting them from school altogether. "It's about building relationships and having [students] do what you want them to do because they want to do it—not because they're afraid of what the consequences are," said Rhonda Richetta, the principal of City Springs, which has 624 students. "We really want kids to change."
Mr. Dad: Fight bullies with ‘restorative justice’
from the article by Armin Brott in the Journal Times: ....The biggest surprise for me was that zero-tolerance policies (like the one at your son’s school and many others around the country) don’t work either. According to Goldman, studies indicate that rather than reducing bad behavior, being suspended or expelled increases the likelihood that a student will misbehave — and get suspended — again.
Parent-to-parent guide: Restorative justice in Chicago Public Schools
from the booklet by the Parents of POWER-PAC: For too many of our children, “school discipline” has meant getting suspended or expelled—starting as young as kindergarten—being arrested, even in grade school—and ending up on the streets or in jail— without an education. We are Chicago Public School parents, from many different neighborhoods and backgrounds, raising kids of all ages. We work together in POWER-PAC, and built our “Elementary Justice Campaign: Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline” because we’ve felt at times that school discipline works against—not with—our children and families.
Five act lesson cycle: Humor in the classroom
from the article by R. Casey Davis on the Ecology of Education blog: The Bard’s plays usually end in one of two ways depending upon their particular genre of theater. In essence, disharmony is created in the audience through the characters and their actions. Through the course of the dramatic arc, resolution is achieved by the fifth and final act. Shakespeare’s two forms of resolution are based upon whether the nature of the play is tragic or comedic. For tragic works, the resolution is retributive justice. Wrongs have been avenged. Conversely, for comedic works, the resolution is restorative justice. The imbalance in the plot is corrected and the situation is set aright.
Applying a restorative justice approach to student conduct
from the article by Daniel Fusch in Academic Impressions: ....Taking an RJ approach requires a philosophical shift for the student conduct office – it entails new sets of questions for student conduct hearings and an alert ear for cases in which there is the possibility to restore harm that’s been done, rather than simply (or only) penalize. ....To learn more about how to make a restorative justice program most successful, we interviewed two officials from Colorado State University, which has frequently been recognized for its restorative justice and other student conduct programs. The two officials are Paul Osincup and Melissa Emerson, the associate and assistant directors of conflict resolution and student conduct services at CSU. Paul Osincup holds student conduct hearings; Melissa Emerson manages the restorative justice process once a student has been referred as a likely RJ candidate.
More action needed to bolster good behavior
from the article by Alan J. Borsuk in the Journel Sentinel: I don't know exactly what happened during a funeral at a church at N. 53rd and W. Burleigh streets last Tuesday, but I know it was bad. I know a lot more about what happened in the library at Bradley Tech High School the next morning, and I know it was good.
Restorative Justice in schools, further reading resources!
from Kris Miner's post in Restorative Justice and Circles: The newest item published for school based restorative justice: I would also recommend:

Document Actions

Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

Restorative Justice Library Search

Search 11427 publications on restorative justice