What is Restorative Justice? Restorative Justice Practices originate from the criminal justice system. The importance of cultivating relationships among students and school staff is at the forefront of the restorative justice model. Student misbehavior is viewed as a violation of established relationships (rather than a violation of a rule). When a problem occurs the person who has done the wrongdoing and the people affected by the wrongdoing get together to identify the harm, acknowledge the effects of the harm, and work to resolve the harm (1). Several different techniques can be used to carry this out:
- Peer Mediation
- Peer Accountability Boards
Benefits of Restorative Justice:
- Students perceived their teachers who consistently implemented restorative practices as being more respectful and having a positive relationship with them (2)
- Restorative Justice is a preventive model of discipline which incentives wrongdoing by cultivating positive relationships and creating a sense of closure when problems do arise.
- Incorporates youth voice in defining the ‘misbehavior’ and determining how to go about repairing the relationship
- High and consistent implementation of Restorative justice Practices narrows the racial discipline (2)
Limitations of Restorative Justice:
- Schools with higher proportions of black students are less likely to implement restorative justice practices and more likely to implement punitive and exclusionary models of discipline (3).
- Restorative Justice Practices is that they work best when the whole school embraces this paradigm shift of rather than a few individual staff members within the school (3).
- Teachers need continuous feedback and training on how to implement restorative justice practices (2)
1) Mosby, D. L. (2019). Exploring Restorative Justice, Suspensions, and Expulsions with African American Males (Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University).
2) Åhäll, L., & Gregory, T. (Eds.). (2015). Emotions, politics and war. Routledge.
3) Payne, A. A., & Welch, K. (2015). Restorative justice in schools: The influence of race on restorative discipline. Youth & Society, 47(4), 539-564.