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With the potential of teaching conflict resolution skills, building stronger relationships and providing alternative approaches to discipline, many schools are exploring the use of restorative practices. These articles discuss the experiences with this approach to school discipline.

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."
Statement of Restorative Justice Principles in Schools
Lyndsey Sharp,a researcher with the Restorative Justice Consortium in London provides an overview of the development of the Consortium's Statement of Restorative Justice Principles as Applied in the School Setting.
Restorative Discipline in Universities
In fall 2005, Fresno Pacific University implemented a restorative discipline policy to respond to conflict and rule infractions involving students. Built on the principles of restorative justice, the process seeks to provide fair, just and holistic responses to these infractions. The process consists of four stages of increasing levels of formality.
Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People. Inquiry into Restorative Justice Principles in Youth Settings: The Management of Bullying, Harassment, and Violence in ACT Government Schools
This document from the Standing Committee on Education, Training, and Young People (part of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory) addresses bullying, harassment, and violence in schools under its jurisdiction. It explains how they work to counter those problems within the parameters of the National Safe Schools Framework and includes supplementary information on some of the programs present in schools.
Blood, Peta. Inquiry into Restorative Justice: Submission
Blood & Thorsborne (2005) and Morrison, Blood & Thorsborne (forthcoming) have significantly contributed to the implementation of restorative practices in schools and are presently challenging practitioners to think more broadly about the implications of introducing this concept to schools. It is simply not enough to take a model from the justice system and to overlay on schools or for that matter, in any setting. It is incumbent on those implementing and supporting the implementation that they understand that this is about cultural change. Working restoratively requires a shift from an authoritarian/ punitive way of dealing with inappropriate behaviour to the authoritative/relational. It also links to two other main bodies of effective school practice: the elements that lead to students feeling connected to their school (Blum et. al., 2002) and productive pedagogy or the art of teaching and learning (Lingard et al. 2003). Many schools in the ACT have commenced the implementation of restorative practices. However, sustainability and maintaining integrity of practice are high priorities, with implementation hinging on securing additional funding. Successful implementation takes three to five years and needs to be supported long term, otherwise the ACT risks schools implementing poorly, or seeing this as another tool in the toolbox. (excerpt)
Restorative justice in schools
a presentation of RSA lectures: A group of experts look at restorative justice, a practice which brings together the victims and the perpetrators of conflict in order to find an agreed resolution.
Chankova, Dobrinka. Teaching Restorative Justice in Universities and Beyond
Teaching of RJ in the European universities should be further promoted. But teaching of restorative values should start in the middle and secondary schools. And not only in a selected number of schools with open minded directors, ready to experiment; the whole school restorative approach should be the general policy. This is the only way to create a restorative culture, which we desperately need. (excerpt)
McElrea, FWM. “Win-Win" Solutions to School Conflict
a keynote address given at Contemporary Issues in Education Law: Strategies for Best Practice. Sydney, Australia, 7-9 July 1997
Osborn, David. Training in Restorative Justice: Enhancing Collaboration with Public School Educators.
In this article I explore the use of training in restorative practices as a means of developing educators’ collaborative abilities. The research in this article is based on the development and implementation of two restorative justice training programs. Both training programs made extensive use of a talking-circle format, which provided the space for both experience and reflection. The effective use of collaboration assumes that individuals are actively engaged in their social environment and are therefore able to assert their needs within that context. It also assumes they can reflect on their actions and are able to co-operate within their social environment In developing my argument I use dialectics, such as assertion and co-operation, to support my conclusions. My study concludes that training in restorative justice will develop and improve educators’ ability to be collaborative. (author's abstract)
Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools
This report examines six New York City public schools that are successfully maintaining safety while simultaneously promoting a nurturing school environment. This report explores the methods employed by these schools, including the tangible and intangible qualities that have contributed to their success. It concludes with practical recommendations to help the New York City Department of Education (DOE)—and urban school districts across the country—replicate their successful approaches to discipline and security. The report was prepared by The New York Civil Liberties Union, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Make the Road New York.
Judge Irene Sullivan on learning a lesson in restorative justice from teenagers
from her entry on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: In mid-May I traveled from my home in Florida to Evanston Township High School, just north of Chicago, to meet with students, school social workers and law enforcement officials. My intention was to talk to them about my nine years of service as a juvenile judge and the stories of the kids in court I wrote about in my book, Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Instead of talking I was listening. Instead of teaching I was learning. Instead of being the center of attention, I was one person in a circle of 12. Instead of sharing my experiences with others, I listened while others shared some very personal and painful experiences with me. Instead of talking about guilt or innocence, crime and punishment, I found myself focused on the word “harm:” identifying the harm, acknowledging the harm and repairing the harm.
School takes no bully approach
from Sarah Collerton's article on ABC News: ....Some parents have accused schools of ignoring bullying problems, while others have looked for strategies to stamp out "modern" schoolyard violence. But Brisbane Catholic school Villanova College is using an alternative method to tackle its bullying problem. The school, for grade five to senior boys, implemented restorative practice (RP) in 2004, inspired by an Australian Story episode on a former policeman's restorative justice work. Villanova says it no longer uses the term "bully", instead preferring "wrongdoer", "offender" or "the guy who did the wrong thing". And it regularly holds Circle Time, which involves small groups of younger students talking about things that are worrying them. In more serious cases of bullying, there is the "powerful and emotionally gruelling" Community Conference, where parents, teachers and other key stakeholders intervene.
Educating pupils on peace
Alfred, Rita and Bendich, Ida. Shifting school culture.
My job was to create a paradigm shift within the school context by introducing restorative justice as an alternative to the traditional discipline system. After my training with Roca I returned renewed and ready to try this new way of working with student violations. The principal, having had several years of experience as an assistant principal, agreed that suspensions and expulsions did not work to change student behavior. Together, we began the restorative justice journey at Cole. (excerpt)
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.
Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People. Inquiry into Restorative Justice Principles in Youth Settings: Submission
Robyn Holder, Victims of Crime Co-Coordinator, offers her recommendations on the benefits of restorative justice, but also cautions against over-zealous implementation in educational settings.
Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People. Inquiry into Restorative Justice Principles in Youth Settings: Submission
Jane Lomax-Smith, Minister for Education and Children's Services and Minister for Tourism, summarizes restorative justice practices in schools that have been implemented in South Australia.
Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People. Inquiry into Restorative Justice Principles in Youth Settings: Submission
Anna Bligh, Minister for Education and Minister for the Arts, explicates some of the programs implemented in Queensland in educational settings.
Campbelltown Primary School's justice for all sees grades rise and behaviour improve
from Amy Noonan's article in Adelaide Now: Deputy principal Graeme Shugg said the effect of restorative practices at Campbelltown was immediate. "Teachers reported change within two weeks in their classes," he said. "We empower kids to question and take responsibility for what they've done and repair the harm and allow the victim to have a say. The bottom line is, the people involved in the problem are the best people to solve the problem." Suspensions dropped from 86 in 2003 to just 33 last year. In 2003, students were sent to the principal for discipline 683 times. Last year there were 76 referrals to the office.
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.

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