Restorative Practices

The Restorative Approach is a philosophy or guiding principle (not a program or specific activity) that sees relationships as central to learning, growth and a healthy school climate for students and adults. Restorative Practices enable us to integrate and normalize this approach within a school culture.

Restorative practices focus on building, maintaining and, when necessary, repairing relationships among all members of a school community.

Restorative [practice] is an effective alternative to punitive responses to wrongdoing. Inspired by indigenous traditions, it brings together persons harmed with persons responsible for harm in a safe and respectful space, promoting dialogue, accountability, and a stronger sense of community.”

Like our nation as a whole, Vermont has large disparities between the rates of exclusionary discipline for students with disabilities, students of color, and students from low-income families when compared with other students.

“During 2011-2012, 5-10% of Vermont’s public school students were suspended, losing at least 8,000 days of school. In addition, Vermont’s students with disabilities and students of color were two to three times more likely to be excluded from school through suspension and expulsion. These disparities persisted for restraint, seclusion, and referral to law enforcement.”

The good news is that by eliminating these disparities and limiting our use of exclusionary discipline in schools, and fostering high-quality relationships, we can improve our schools’ climates and safety. Restorative practices in particular have effectively reduced suspensions and and racial disparities in discipline while simultaneously raising student achievement levels.

RJ in Schools Comparison 080515

Standard Discipline vs. Restorative Practices in Schools (great, short overview doc) (and then a disclaimer about how Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice are often used interchangeably)

Why are restorative practices in schools important in the racial equity context? (inequities on the basis of race in school discipline. School to prison pipeline). Links.

Click here for excellent implementation guide: School-Wide Restorative Practices Partnership.