According to Mindful Schools, "Restorative practices promote a positive, orderly school environment. Students and all members of the school community can learn and practice self-discipline, empathy, and accountability. Restorative justice is an effective alternative to punitive responses to wrongdoing."
If you are interested in hosting professional development at your school or in your district, go to our PD page for a list of presenters and the sessions they offer. If you are a presenter and would like to be included on this page, please e-mail Todd Scholl.
A few Mondays ago, a Denver third-grader named Luca sat down in a circle with his classmates and started a conversation like this: "If you were an animal for a day, based on your mood and feelings today, what animal would it be?" It was the best conversation, say classmates Ellie and Lina.
In a January 2014 school guidance package, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated, "The need to rethink and redesign school discipline practices is long overdue." Zero-tolerance policies may seem like the answer to bad behavior in the heat of the moment. But they're not. This short-term fix is based on fear.
Background For many years educators have used punishment, or fear of punishment, as the primary deterrent to student misconduct. We have tried zero tolerance, excessive use of in-school suspension (ISS) and out of school suspension (OSS), elimination of student privileges, and numerous other consequences to control student behavior.
Suspensions do not improve a school's environment, according to the Dignity in Schools campaign that identified my school district as having the fifth highest suspension rate in the state of Pennsylvania. In 2013, when this report was compiled, our district had assigned an out-of-school suspension for 58 of every 100 students.