Thursday, November 12, 2009

Restorative Justice in Schools

Via The Crime Report:
A new publication by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority provides suggestions for how schools can address behavioral issues and rule-breaking from a restorative, rather than punitive, standpoint. “Implementing Restorative Justice: A Guide for Schools,” finds that “there is no evidence that zero tolerance policies improve student behavior, the school climate or overall school safety,” and encourages school officials to counter the trend of criminalizing school misconduct with such techniques as separating the deed from the doer and using misbehavior as an opportunity for learning.

Click here to read the full report.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that this morning on Drudge was link to a story from Chicago about a bunch of kids being arrested for a food fight. I think its time to take the police out of school and put the paddles back in. When I was in school every teacher had a paddle and most weren't afraid to use it.

ckikerintulia said...

I agree with taking the police out, except in dangerously violent circumstances. The paddle should be in, but used sparingly. Other restorative models should be used first.

ckikerintulia said...

I have read this report, printed it, and am taking it to the HS principal in Tulia, who is a genuinely good guy.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic approach to change unwanted behaviors. This really takes away the 'black sheep' mentality, by helping those kids who make poor choices. Youth are in a stage of growth and development, and many lack the maturity to make wise decisions at times (heck, most adults have this, as well!). The 'circles' idea is very beneficial at fostering a sense of unity/cooperation among youth. Allowing young people to problem solve, and learn from their past actions, teaches them to accept personal responsibility for their actions in a nonthreatening atmosphere. Really, this restorative justice is one of the best ideas I've heard in a very long time. Let's hope Texas public schools begin to implement this strategy, as well.

Anonymous said...

I would have to strongly disagree with 8:51. Absolutely no paddling on my children, or any others, for that matter. That is punitive, and really only humiliates and causes resentment in youth-and does not teach them to change into a better human being. This restorative justice model is the way to go, and takes law enforcement out of our schools. These kids do not need a criminal record or to be ridiculed/ostracized for being young and immature. Involve them in problem solving, and help them to learn positive strategies for changing their unwanted/harmful behaviors. Teach them empathy for others, kindness, and focus on their strengths to propel them forward out of this detrimental path.

Soronel Haetir said...

10:35,

The paddle is to get the kid's attention. The lesson comes afterward.

D.A. Confidential said...

I wouldn't agree with bringing back the paddle, while it might be useful in theory (maybe) there is waaay too much room for abuse.

But great to see a proactive, non-punitive approach to problems in our schools. Let's hope it works, and spreads.

Anonymous said...

The culture insides our public schools does not value or support education. Many of our teachers care about education and try to stem the tide. But, they are a small force facing the culture that students bring into school and the dysfunctional and apathetic culture of the parent (singular). The other parent is, of course, a ghost and his children may not even know his name.

We say we affirm and value this example of diversity and insist that it is equally valid. Responsibility and irrersonsibility are equally valid in minds of those who have appointed themselves as our cultural leaders.

Anonymous said...

Youth must be handled/controlled and taught corrective behavior while in school. Once they go to TYC, the youth is lost forever.

Anonymous said...

12:57 points out that some kids' parent(s) or legal guardians are not appropriate role models themselves. Or else, that's my interpretation-which is true. It is very sad to think that many young people are in such dysfunction, but it is a reality, nonetheless. These young students are in dire need of a positive role model and a supportive system where they can actually learn constructive actions from their poor choices. This article on restorative justice in public schools hits the nail on the head. There are many behaviors that would be considered 'normal' for a young person, and years ago was not considered a 'criminal' offense,and police are now summoned,per the ill conceived laws. One quote I remember that can be applied to this type of discipline "train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it'. Aren't all young people worth the time and effort to teach them tenets from this discipline model,especially if they don't get it at home? After all, it benefits all of us in the long run.

Anonymous said...

"The history of corrections is the history of movement - movement from one undocumented fad to another."

Dan Richard Beto
2004

Anonymous said...

02/27 said:
...train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it'.

That is a very good thought. However, I wonder who is going to train these children? On ocassion a well meaning mentor with special rapport and skills makes an impact on some children. This exceptional mentor goes to great length to establish a personal, meaningful relationship with a child or two. The problem, it seems to me, is whether these special individuals will really be able to counteract the wall to wall, overwhelming and overpowering culture that young Americans face today?

At the beginning of every school year a larger number of these children show up who have not had a good role model. It all starts over again and we are 8 to 10 years behind and we have to hustle and run and run to try to catch up.

Children used to live with someone who loved them and took a personal interest in them. We can make a sincere effort, but it seems as if we are asked to take over an ever increasing portion of that responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Parents are failing miserably; as a result, government is being asked to step in and take over the parental role. Education system in America is failing and American culture is to blame.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 8:34, there are success stories out there.

My father mentored a high school boy a decade ago whose mother was a prostitute, father was in prison and his guardian grandparents were both dying of cancer. The boy was having behavior problems, mostly immature, attention-getting things and considered at risk of getting expelled or dropping out.

All my father did was pick him up during school a couple of times a week and take him for a Coke and talk.

That boy is now a husband and a father and also a police officer and he says my father's part gave him hope and let him know there was another person who cared about him and his situation.

More people should mentor. The public schools should promote it.

Anonymous said...

It takes a village to raise someone else's kid.

BHorton2 said...

Educators with more and more Masters degrees and PhD's asked parents to leave the schools and leave teaching up to people who"knew what they were doing" in the 1970's. The real answer to campus discipline is getting parents in large numbers back on campus and involved with students. THAT, not yet another educator-based initiative, is most likely to restore order and harmony to schools.

Pirate Rothbard said...

Just hope you can get your kids out of the worst sort of stinking pits they call public schools, such as the monster factories in South Dallas.

If you're lucky enough to get your kid into a good school, then you can not have to worry about every new fad for getting kids to behave.

It's a simple goal: keep your children away from other children who hold the values of the underclass.

Anonymous said...

In our schools if a student speaks proper English or makes good grades he may suffer serious intimidation.

If he rises above the 6th grade reading level he will really stand out and may have to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Restorative and community justice processes are neither a fad or undocumented. It is also not limited to schools and has been effectively applied with both adult and juvenile offenders around the world and in the US.

There have been 16 randomized studies with thousands of offenders and the outcomes are far more positive (lower recidivism, lower cost, greater satisfaction for all involved, greater sense of safety and genuine reform among offender). When we focus less on punishment and more how we heal harms while holding offenders directly accountable to those they have harmed and the community they live it is can be incredibly effective.

In short, there is more evidence that restorative justice practices work than that traditional justice works. In fact, the overwhelming evidence is that traditional justice does not work.