Friday, October 23, 2015

Restorative Justice

We're beginning to implement this at my school.  I'll withhold judgement until I see its actual effectiveness:
The students, more than 30 in all, filed into room B7 at San Juan High School in Citrus Heights to receive their dose of social justice. Among the infractions: Using digital devices or bad language in class.

“Do you know why you are here?” senior Tristan Bare asked after several students were called forward.

“You were all on your electronic devices and all were warned, the no-devices poster was displayed and you were using (the devices) during instruction.”

It was another Thursday morning for the high school’s peer judicial panel, one element of a culture-changing, conflict-reducing strategy known as “restorative practices” gaining traction in public schools nationally. The peer panels at San Juan focus on having students take responsibility for their actions and make amends for harms done.

The payoffs, San Juan students say, are fewer black marks on student records, fewer formal reports to principals and more palatable remedies to conflicts, all positive alternatives to student alienation and suspension. It’s the flip side of zero-tolerance policies that research shows disproportionately punish racial minorities.

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