Restorative Justice basic building blocks presented by Ted Wachtel Founder IIRP

Ted Wachtel and Kris Miner, DPI Conference

I attended the WI DPI Heart of the Matter: Building Safe and Drug Free Schools Conference.  I hosted an exhibit booth, pictured below.

The keynote speaker was Ted Wachtel, founder IIRP.  Ted and I met years back, the story is here, here really.

It was an exciting day for progressing Restorative Justice in Wisconsin Schools.  Ted’s training for classroom circles had a waiting list of 50!  (This was bittersweet news for me, the training I was doing for CESA 7, was cancelled due to lack of registrations.)  Still I was thrilled that our state department of Public Instruction, selected Restorative Practices in schools as the key feature for this conference.

The keynote that Ted gave highlighted concepts I work from everyday.  He spoke about the fair process article which he directly sent me years ago.

The basic building blocks of Restorative Justice of so good, I have to share this in this post!  Highlights paraphrased from Ted’s presentation:

  • “Punishment works as long as we are looking, but what about internal change?”   This statement makes so much sense in school settings.  I once read that teachers see one of every 25 bully incidents.  Ted when on to explain how punishment leads the offender to feel like the victim.
  • “People are happier, more productive and more likely to make positive change when those in positions of authority do things with instead of to or for them.”  Ted uses a social discipline window to demonstrate this.

I converted this to a training concept I call “Kris Math”.  The powerpoint slide shows: 2, 4 & with.  I explain the differences of taking someones power and doing something to them, or for them.  With is side by side.  I live this, teach it and have come to expect it.  I nearly melted down when the executive committee met without me.  (Which is a reasonable function of board committees.)

  • “People are more likely to trust and cooperate freely with systems, whether they themselves win or lose, when they feel like the process was fair”  from the Fair Process Article.  This includes engagement, explanation and expectation clarity, FAIR_PROCESSRestorative Justice Circle process fully embraces these “E’s”.

It was a good reminder for me to hear Ted talk about this article, and the application from management perspectives.  I went back to the office and had some conversations keeping these “E’s” in mind.  Very helpful.

I encourage you to check in on your restorative justice building blocks.  Are you using these key themes in your restorative justice work, are you using these concepts in the structure of your program?  These are excellent perspectives to keep in mind if you are promoting a community of peace and belonging or managing a classroom with restorative practices.

Thanks Ted!  And Thanks DPI for having him!