Schools

  • Ted Wachtel delivering remarks at IIRP accreditation celebrationIIRP President Ted Wachtel writes:

    I sent a letter to the editors of the The New York Times responding to its May 29, 2013, editorial about "The School-to-Prison Pipeline."

    "I was pleased to see your editorial highlighting the need for schools to change their approach to school discipline, as recommended by the NY City School-Justice Partnership task force, but the discussion is framed in reactive terms, such as a 'graduated response protocol.' Rather, the first step in reducing misbehavior and violence in schools is to proactively build social capital.In the early 1980s, I co-authored Toughlove,

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    This video, in Catalan with English subtitles, portrays a project to implement restorative practices across sectors in the Son Gotleu neighborhood of the city of Palma on the island of Majorca, Spain. It's about 20 minutes long, and includes great video of restorative practices at work and testimonials of adults and children.


  • Restorative practices helped Joe get on the right path. “Restorative practices helped me look at what I did wrong instead of always blaming other people,” says Joe RoyEighteen-year-old Joe Roy has been on a bumpy journey, but now he’s excited to launch himself into life.

    When he moved to a CSF group home and enrolled at CSF Buxmont’s Sellersville school at 16, Joe’s life was in turmoil. (Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy are model programs of the IIRP

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  • Photo by Jim Capaldi at Flickr Creative Commons.Photo by Jim Capaldi at Flickr Creative Commons

    "Drawing from both liberal and conservative values, restorative practices cultivate a society based on participation and mutual self-reliance, where as citizens we take greater responsibility for our own lives," argues IIRP President Ted Wachtel argues in an op-ed piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. He begins with a story from about an incident at a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, high

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  • I've featured IIRP's work with City Springs Public Charter School (K-8) in Baltimore, Maryland, a number of times in the past. Now, in this 6-minute segment from Voice of America's African TV2, reporter Laurel Bowman presents what she found during her visit to the school earlier this spring. Both proactive and responsive practices are highlighted here, including circles and a restorative conference with children young and old.

  • Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 4.50.12 PMThe following are excerpts from a recent article published in School Nurse News by Laura Mirsky, IIRP Assistant Director for Communications. 


    Kathleen Hawkins, a school nurse at Liberty [High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania] for 15 years (25 years overall), was trained in restorative practices along with all of Liberty’s staff. Hawkins says that restorative practices has allowed her to improve her nursing practice. She has found the restorative approach to be fundamentally compatible with the nursing process, as set forth in the acronym “DAPE” — Data, Assessment, Plan and Evaluation. Says Hawkins,

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  • Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 2.51.31 PMAs a recipient of the Anika Foundation Scholarship, Sam Kourakis came to North America for five weeks to study restorative practices with the IIRP and a number of schools implementing restorative practices on a whole-school basis. Sam is a counselor at SCEGS (Sydney Church of England Coeducational Grammar School) Redlands, a private school in Sydney, Australia. She's been working with restorative practices in Australia for 15 years. At SCEGS they've incorporated circles in classrooms at every level, also involving parents.

    Sam began her trip in April by attending IIRP's 4-Day Basic Restorative Practices event in Boston, Massachusetts.

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  • Youth United for Change (YUC) describes itself as "a youth-led, democratic organization made up of youth of color and working class communities, with the 'people' and political power to hold school officials and government accountable to meeting the educational needs of Philadelphia public school students."

    The following video, produced by YUC and the Advancement Project, features youth talking about how security measures in schools, such as police officers and metal detectors, actually make them feel less safe and often criminalize them for normal youthful behavior. They propose that their schools use restorative justice as an alternative, and the film shows them using restorative circles in a manner that suggests proactive community building.

  • Photo by USAG Humphreys at Flickr Creative CommonsPhoto by USAG Humphreys at Flickr Creative Commons

    "Hurt people hurt people: Helped people help people," write Angela Dornai and Dorothy Vaandering in an article in the March/April issue of Canadian Teacher Magazine. They illustrate their theme with an emotionally charged incident that in many schools might have led to a suspension or expulsion but instead resulted in better understanding all around. The following happened in a Toronto area school and provides a great

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  • "Test Tube" by Jason Hickey at Flickr Creative Commons."Test Tube" by Jason Hickey at Flickr Creative Commons.

    I noticed a story last week about a Florida teen who was expelled from school for a science experiment gone wrong. This case is garnering a lot of attention because the intent of the student was not only harmless, but also because this teen, Kiera Wilmot, was an otherwise model student. Now the ACLU is taking up the cause, which calls attention to the continuing

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  • Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 3.00.11 PMThe House of Representatives of the state of Louisiana, USA, is the latest state governing body to consider adopting a law to change disciplinary codes in its schools. Stop Bullying Louisiana and Louisiana Progress issued a

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  • Moment of silence for Boston bombing victims. Photo by Rebecca Hildreth at Flick Creative CommonsMoment of silence for Boston bombing victims. Photo by Rebecca Hildreth at Flick Creative Commons

    Pierre R. Berastaín, a student at Harvard Divinity School, proposes that restorative circle processes be used to address the violence last week at the Boston Marathon, and the frayed feelings of people throughout the city of Boston and elsewhere. Writing on a Huffington Post blog, in a piece titled "Restorative Justice: Re-storying What

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  • Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 1.34.18 PMIIRP Latin America always get the best photos. In the past couple days they've posted two albums to facebook with students young and old.

    IIRP Latin America's director Jean Schmitz explains, regarding the first set, that in 2012 his organization, an IIRP international affiliate, trained approximately 35 teachers at Ramón Espinoza Public School. The school is located in a poor suburb of Lima called Barrios Altos. A year later, Jean says, around a quarter of the teachers regularly apply restorative practices with their

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  • Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 2.15.09 PMIn a sprawling school district in northeast Ontario, Canada, with six secondary and 18 primary schools, restorative practices have not only reduced suspensions, but also helped change student behavior, according to an article by Brenden Harris in KenoraOnline. Restorative practices have been rolled out district wide, and were introduced with the support of Bruce Schenk, director of IIRP Canada.

    The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is pleased with the results of their safe and supportive schools initiatives. Safe and supportive schools coordinator Al Wray says they've seen a continued drop in the number of suspensions over the last decade.

  • Last week I posted a link to a new report issued by the Civil Rights Project at University of California, Los Angeles, ”Out of School & Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools.” Below, you'll find a 10-minute video from Huffington Post with co-author of the report Daniel Losen, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

    Losen discusses the report and the fact that suspensions for minority students have been on the rise over the past three decades. He notes that suspensions are "not a good way to address typical adolescent behavior," though as many as 25% of certain group of students got suspended in 2009-10 in some schools.

  • Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 3.00.15 PMTerry O'Connell has a chapter, called "Conflict and Relationships: Restorative Ways of Building Community," in a new book titled Peace in Action: Practices, Policies and Perspectives That Make a Difference, edited by Raymond John R. King, Victor MacGill, Roger Wescombe. The book is a collection of papers from the Rotary Peace Communities International Conference held in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, in 2012. Terry is director of Real Justice Australia, and he developed the Real Justice script and the

  • Photo by Michael Stravato for the New York TimesPhoto by Michael Stravato for the New York TimesPhiladelphia youth activists explain and critique the school-to-prison pipeline in On Blast, a seven-minute podcast. Their description of the recording states:

    The School-to-Prison Pipeline is a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the

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  • Photo by Black Rock Solar, Flickr Creative CommonsPhoto by Black Rock Solar, Flickr Creative CommonsIn a new report issued by the Civil Rights Project at University of California, Los Angeles,"Out of School & Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools," Daniel J. Losen and Tia Elena Martinez analyze data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools. In their executive summary, they write:

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  • Talking circle / photo by Christianity TodayTalking circle / photo by Christianity Today

    Here's an excerpt from an excellent article that appeared this week in Christianity Today. "Detroit Students Restore Peace by Talking It Out" by Charles Honey begins with an anecdote of a restorative circle used to resolve an argument that led to threats, which took place one weekend between a group of teenaged girls over social media. The article then goes on to quote Henry McClendon, Michigan Regional

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