Restorative justice is growing rapidly in K-12 schools. This project supports the development of RJ in schools, particularly in the New York State Capital Region. Restorative practices in schools are used to build community, improve the campus climate, and respond to conflict and misconduct issues.
Restorative Justice is a philosophy and a collection of methods designed support those responsible for harm to make things right and rebuild trust with their school. Restorative Justice isn’t just one thing. There are many paths to a school that can help students learn from their youthful mistakes. What follows is a list of services to support you, your administration, faculty, students and community members to build a more restorative school.
Circle Processes are the foundation of restorative work. Classes, teams, and faculty can all benefit from harnessing the power of the circle. Circle processes are used in formal RJ conferences for responding to policy infractions and reintegration circles after suspensions. But circle practice can also be used to manifest powerful insights and manage climate issues before incidents occur. Circle practices can be used with preschoolers as well as varsity footballers. They encourage meaningful sharing and are focused on creating concrete action plans.
Our training and consultation is designed to support implementation in the following areas:
Classroom and climate support: Creating a restorative community in your classroom for engaged academic discussions, meaningful community building, and restorative classroom management.
Restorative conversations: Making one-on-one restorative interventions with students successful.
RJ circle processes for faculty: Improving faculty engagement and morale through restorative circles.
Restorative conferencing for discipline: Teaching the conferencing methodology for behavioral issues, administrative/superintendent hearings, and restorative disciplinary outcomes.
RJ reentry process for student transitions and return from suspensions: Developing Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) for students who have been suspended and expelled. Post suspensions, movement between buildings/change of status
RJ for special education issues: Making IEPs more effective through restorative practices.
Restorative parenting: Training and support groups to educate parents and build partnerships
RJ for coaches and extracurricular clubs/organizations: Team management and problem-solving; support for coaches and advisors to help student groups maintain sobriety
Peer facilitation training: Training and support for student-led restorative processes
Facilitation: Professionally-led RJ facilitation for school and district issues
Apprenticeship support: Coaching to develop internal capacity for facilitation and RJ leadership
This first video is expertly produced by two Skidmore students, about our work at South Glens Falls High School. This 8-minute documentary demonstrates how powerful community-building circles can be. The video features two Skidmore students, Nick Papasian and Ruby Thompson, who skillfully facilitated a series of circles at the high school.
Here are two videos demonstrating restorative practices from "down under." The first is an Australian example from an elementary school; the second a high school example from New Zealand.
Below are videos about school-based RJ from Maine and California.
Restorative Practices and San Francisco Public Schools from Mark Wieser on Vimeo.
(See the About RJ page for several books on RJ in schools.)
Karp, David R. and Beau Breslin. 2001. “Restorative Justice in School Communities.”Youth and Society. 33:249-272.
NY Capital Region K-12 RJ Google Group
Join this community of practice for discussion: Capital Region School RJ
Restorative Practices: A Guide for Educators (National Opportunity to Learn Campaign)
Ask the Keeper: Answers to your questions about restorative practices in schools (Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility)