How restorative practices can work

Recently, we posted this great infographic from the Schott Foundation on the difference between a zero-tolerance education system and a restorative- practices-based education system.

If you’re attuned to the news of the education world, you’ll recognize restorative practices (or restorative justice) as a buzzword. Why has it been gaining both detractors and diehard supporters?

There are many districts and individuals who swear by restorative practices. It promotes a healthy school climate, provides an opportunity for people to dialogue and repair harm, has accountability measures in place, and most importantly, promotes grace and humanity.

First and foremost, it’s important that restorative practice have buy-in from all the adults and be implemented with fidelity. Why? Restorative practice is not simply a program, but a way of being. Students can tell if an adult in the building is talking the talk but not walking the walk.

Talking about feelings, emotions, and life’s challenges can be tough. What better way to raise up a generation with a strong, empathetic emotional IQ than to walk through these experience with them in a dignifying way— and give students who use these learned restorative practices to mentor others.

Now for the detractors who say restorative practice takes too much time. Yes, learning restorative practices (RPs) is not something that comes from a short session.That is because it is an important ongoing process —not only with time and resources, but attitude and buy-in. While some detractors say RPs are too “fluffy” and don’t provide true accountability, it’s important to also remember that RPs are not a list of boxes to check, it’s a way of being. It’s on ongoing way of being that takes time, effort, and people power.

Imagine the outcome that could come from ongoing restorative practices. Maybe learning this skill consistently in school will prevent future local, regional, and global conflicts. And in the meantime, it can lead to a healthier, more vibrant school and community climate.

Want to learn more about restorative practices?

– Attend a Restorative Practices Summit hosted by GradMN and Solutions Not Suspensions Coalition on March 10.

– Check out an EdTalk at the Icehouse on #ReThinkingDiscipline on February 26.

– Read about some RP stories from here in Minnesota!

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