In my opinion Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices are exactly the same thing. I have gotten feedback that “Justice” is not a good word for schools to use. That’s fine, if “Practices” works better for your school or community – use that. Being aware of practicing the philosophy is most important.
I stick to calling our work in schools Restorative Justice. For one, that’s what I believe that it is. The journey to schools, evolved from our Restorative Justice program. Maybe if our organization was just starting, or started in a school setting we would be using a different title.
I was being introduced for a training, and the school principal doing the introduction, made an excellent point. He explained the success of Restorative Justice in the juvenile justice system, was now being utilized in school communities. He went on to explain that the trainer, had experience in both, and was one of only a few people that he knew able to bring this information. It was worth the $20 I paid him to say that (just kidding!).
Bringing RJ to schools is one of the most rewarding things I do.
Catherine’s stories and experiences in her classroom are amazing! I’m so glad she’s sharing those in this blog. I get feedback from other school practitioners, and each one reinforces the need to keep offering training sessions.
We can relate the use of Circles to Social Emotional Learning, important for academic achievement. I’d like to recommend the book Compassionate Classroom for every teacher! That clears up any questions about safety and learning links.
Schools have a variety of options for implementation. The results are amazing, my friends at Central MI have saved 465 suspension days (Jan – Oct data) to the schools in their district. Here is a link to a recent article on their program.
Regardless of the name – using conferences and circles – inclusive processes focusing on making things right and engaging those involved is the BUS to to take!
Have a Happy Day!