In anticipation of the February 2013 issue of The Prevention Researcher on restorative justice, which is sponsored by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, the magazine has just released an audio podcast interview about school implementation of restorative practices. Dr. Christopher Plum is Interim Superintendent at the Plymouth Educational Center, a K-12 charter District in the heart of Detroit, Michigan.
A few years ago, the Plymouth Educational Center began using mandatory, district-wide, restorative practices. Since then, district administrators and faculty have witnessed a "magical" transformation of their school culture. Dr. Plum talks about the restorative practices which have been implemented, the challenges in doing so, and what changes he has noticed in the schools.
During the podcast, Dr. Plum says, "We see students taking responsibility for their own behavior. In fact, they're not coming to us and saying, 'Hey, so-and-so did this. I need you to fix it.' They're coming to us and saying, 'So-and-so did this. We need to fix it. Can you help us fix it?' That's a transformation that doesn't come easy." He also said that he is seeing not only behavior change, but also character changes in students where they are really changing their world views and how they see themselves.
Plymouth Education Center is an IIRP Whole School Change Program school (more information on this program can be found at http://www.safersanerschools.org) and a great example of the kind of things happening with restorative practices in Detroit. Henry McClendon, IIRP's Michigan Regional Coordinator for the IIRP, conducted some of the trainings at Plymouth and has been instrumental, along with others, for the spread of restorative practices in the city.
Interviewer Brooke Lusk writes on her blog, "In talking with Dr. Plum, it became increasingly clear to me that restorative practices empower youth and adults to accept responsibility for their own actions, feelings, and interactions with other people. Teaching youth these skills can greatly benefit them in later life as they mature into adults with a wider variety of relationships. I invite you to listen to the podcast and learn more about how a school’s culture can completely change by implementing restorative practices. And I encourage you to think of ways you can incorporate these practices in your own work with youth."
The original page for the podcast at The Prevention Researcher can be found here.