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Restorative Justice in Schools

posted Jan 15, 2013, 10:00 AM by Maria Geueke
Restorative Justice in Schools
Restorative Justice is a theory and practical applications based on three principles:
 Wrongdoing causes harm to relationships between individuals and community including the victim and the offender
 This wrong or harm crates obligations to put things right
 The stakeholders play an important role in supporting the offender to be accountable and to repair the harm done, while supporting the victim to get his/her needs met

Traditional justice or disciplinary systems respond to wrongdoing by asking: what rules or laws have been broken, who did it and what is the punishment.

Restorative justice or disciplinary systems respond by asking: who has been harmed, what they need for things to be made right and who is obligated to address these needs. While traditional criminal justice or disciplinary systems focus mainly on the offender and the State/Court/ institution, RJ provides opportunities for building a sense of community and mutual accountability.

Restorative Justice has its origins in the indigenous communities in the Yukon and New Zealand where it became the preferred justice system in some communities. In the US, Canada, parts of Europe and other locations, Restorative Justice approaches and practices are being used in schools, the workplace, the criminal justice system and family conflicts. Among the procedures are: family conferencing, victim offender conferencing, circles of support and accountability, circle sentencing and other circle processes, victim impact panels, diversion programs and restorative probation programs.
Within a school system, RJ can be integrated into the student handbook and disciplinary spectrum as well as integrated into classroom management and whole school efforts. Some of the schools using RJ practices are: Brattleboro Union High School, Leland & Gray Middle and High School in Townshend VT, and in Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado, to name a few.
The following links are a few of the resources available for information about integrating Restorative Justice into schools at all levels.
Maria Geueke,
Jan 15, 2013, 10:01 AM