Bring restorative practices to your school to work towards more empathetic conflict resolution.
Restorative justice gives everyone a chance to achieve peace through conversation and empathy building. Those harmed in any way and the person who harmed them work together with the community to aid in justice. In this initiative, inspirED teams will create awareness around the idea of restorative justice to build empathy and launch a program to conduct restorative justice sessions. Your inspirED team will need to partner with administration to make a plan, starting with getting everyone to understand with the value of restorative practices and how it can help your school community. From there, make a plan to train staff and students in how to use restorative practices, and gradually build until restorative practices are an integrated component of your school’s culture.
Tips & Suggestions:
- Be patient. Launching an initiative like this takes time!
- How can you start small? Maybe you can implement circles in just a few classrooms or settings to build momentum.
- Consider using data to support your cause. See the “Fast Facts” section for facts about restorative practices that might help you convince others to support this project.
- Work as a team to brainstorm specific ways that restorative practices can fit in your school, like during homeroom, advisory, in welcoming new students, and/or as a part of your school’s discipline policies.
- A survey in 2007 reported that, in schools that use restorative justice, 89% of students were satisfied with disciplinary outcomes (Shaw, 2007).
- In high schools, the implementation of restorative justice practices have correlated to decreased rates of bullying, violent acts, suspensions, and expulsions (Karp & Breslin, 2001; Lewis, 2009).
- Empathy building within the classroom allows for stronger and more productive relationships between students and teachers (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009).