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Four Innovative Schools That Are Implementing Restorative Justice

Four Innovative Schools That Are Implementing Restorative Justice

Many schools across the country are opting to implement restorative justice methods of disciplining to replace suspensions- and some districts are even banning suspensions altogether. Here's a few ways schools across the country are successfully trying out restorative justice techniques. 

Three-Year Social-Emotional Learning Plan, John S. Martinez School, New Haven, CT

In New Haven, CT where 75 percent of students have been exposed to at least one form of trauma or adversity, the New Haven Public School district is opting to support social emotional learning by implementing restorative justice in four of its schools.

According to Typhanie Jackson, director of student services for special education, the three-year social emotional learning plan introduced in four of the city’s schools has drastically reduced suspensions and office referrals, the New Haven Register said.

In one of the four schools, The John S. Martinez School, suspensions were reduced by 90 percent since when the plan was first implemented. In the 2014-2015 school year, the school only suspended four students versus 41 students suspended in the 2011-12 school year. This has helped increase instruction time that students receive regardless of having behavioral issues. 

In order to help the city implement its new learning plan, it will spend $25,000 on courses to professionally train its teachers throughout the school year, the New Haven Register said. 

The Restorative Justice Pilot Program, Garfield High School, Seattle, WA

In Garfield High School, it was found that African-American students were being suspended at an alarmingly higher rate than their peers, a current national trend.

In order to address this issue in equality, it has implemented the Restorative Justice Pilot Program, where students and adult volunteers meet to practice “tried-and-true restorative justice techniques that focus on communication, bringing all the parties in the equation together to repair harm and build skills and accountability with each other and the community,” says KCTS9

The program has won over even non-believers, and will be implemented school-wide in the near future.

The Five Rs of Restorative Justice, Santa Barbara Junior High School, Santa Barbara, CA

In Santa Barbara Unified School District, a pilot program to administer restorative justice in Santa Barbara Junio High has since been expanded after building success since implementation in 2012.

"The program that aims to keep students in class and to cut back on suspensions of Latino students — since officials discovered an imbalance in that area — already has increased attendance and decreased suspension rates and recommendations for expulsion,” said Frann Wageneck, assistant superintendent of student services to

"Wageneck said restorative approaches focus on the five R’s: relationships, respect, responsibility, repair and reintegration.”

Restorative Justice Coordinator, Ebbets Field Middle School, Crown Heights, NY

In Ebbets Field Middle School, school suspension rates have reached a high with 88 students or 30 out of every 100 being suspended in the 2013-14 school year.

Starting this month, the school has hired a “restorative justice coordinator,” who will help create a school-wide plan to include restorative circles (group discussions about conflicts) and peer mediation into the school’s disciplinary tactics, said

The new program begins this month and will continue for the next four years.

Does your school use restorative justice techniques as alternative forms to traditional discipline? Let Education World know.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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