Restorative Justice in Schools
Restorative Justice Conferencing is easily adapted for use in schools for dealing with discipline problems. School systems are faced with many varied behavioral issues in their student population, such as bullying/harassment, arson, assault, prank calls, drug/alcohol use, fighting, interpersonal conflicts, theft, tardiness, truancy and vandalism. In all of these examples, Restorative Justice Conferencing can appropriately allow the offender to understand the implications of his or her actions, to be accountable for them, and to explore ways to make things right or repair the harm that's been done. The goal for both victim and offender is to develop a plan for how they will associate in the future and/or what type of restitution is needed. In some cases, there is no clear victim or the victim is not an individual, but the community at large or the school community. In these cases, a representative of the community joins the circle to explain how the community has been affected by the misbehavior.
Restorative Justice Conferencing can fill a gap between conflict resolution and traditional discipline. It can address cases where there is a clear right and wrong. For more information on Restorative Justice in Schools click here for an article titled "Filling the Gap Between Conflict Resolution and Discipline: A Restorative Justice Approach" by Moriah Tuchman and Elizabeth Lowrey.