Restorative Practices In Education: 10 Tips For Schools
September 19th, 2018
Restorative Practices in Education: 10 Tips For Schools Interested In Restorative Justice
Implementing restorative practices in education is a great way to promote a more orderly, empathetic, and effective schooling environment, even for troubled students. If you’re interested in using the principles of restorative justice at your school, here are 10 top tips you can use!
1. Assess Your Need For Restorative Justice
Does your school have a higher-than-average rate of suspensions, detentions, expulsions, and other such issues? Do you have a “zero-tolerance” policy that tends to discipline students more harshly based on their race, disability, or household income?
2. Engage The Community
Talk to parents, teachers, community members, and anyone else who may be unhappy with how your school conducts disciplinary practices. Learn about their concerns, and how your school’s policies have affected students.
3. Hire A Restorative Justice Coordinator
To streamline the implementation of restorative justice, an experienced full-time coordinator is the best solution. However, you could also use a dean, counselor, or another motivated individual, who can learn about restorative justice, and manage the training of the entire school on restorative practices.
4. Begin School-Wide Training
You must plan a series of training programs, starting as early in the school year as possible for all administrative staff, including as many people as possible.
Each group must be trained on how to react to incidents and the proper restorative disciplinary processes that can be used to address them. Create a learning-based community, and make it easy for all of your staff members to get more information about restorative justice.
5. Put Your Principles Into Practice
Following your training sessions, your faculty must put restorative justice principles into action. Encourage them to practice their new principles as much as possible, to ensure that they get used to this new method of discipline, and that they can begin to use them naturally, on their own.
6. Develop And Document, And Alter Your Principles As Necessary
You will likely need to revise your student handbook, as well as school guidelines and regulations, to use a restorative justice-based system. Keep iterating on these principles until they are in line with your vision for the school.
7. Get Students Involved
Make sure students understand the basics about the program, and involve them in peer restorative practices with other students. This helps them feel empowered, and provides them with a safe, respectful place where they can talk about their issues.
You may also want to establish an elective restorative justice class for students, so they can learn about this policy, and what it means.
8. Evaluate The Success Of Your Program
Using data such as detentions, suspensions, and other disciplinary metrics, you can measure and track the success of your program. Has it been effective at reducing student absences, misbehavior, and other such issues?
9. Connect With Other Schools Using Restorative Justice
If you need help, you can find a non-profit who can help you communicate with other schools who are using restorative justice, and discuss the challenges facing your own school. This can help you overcome implementation issues.
10. Continue Iterating On Your Restorative Justice Principles
As time goes on, you may need to change and alter the way your school implements restorative justice. This is normal, and encouraged! Restorative justice principles are flexible, and can be used in many different ways.
Build A Better School Environment Now With These Tips!
Fully implementing restorative practices in education is not easy, but it’s worth the time and effort. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to get through the implementation process, and begin building a better school environment.