• The other day I posted about Dignity in Schools week of action on school pushout. You can find actions near you here.

    Since we're based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania I'd like to highlight this eventin Philadelphia tomorrow - Thursday, October 6, 2011, from 5:30 to 8 pm: "Youth Speak Out Against Push Out": Story-gathering on School Push Out, at The United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA (between 17th & 18th).

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  • Over the next week Dignity in Schools, with whom IIRP has collaborated in the past, now presents a week of action:

    Throughout the week of October 1-8, 2011, thousands of parents, youth, and educators will participate in student-led actions and events in 27 cities to expose the school pushout crisis in our nation and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The events and actions will include street theater, public forums, rallies, restorative justice trainings, and more.

    The Dignity in Schools Campaign’s National Week of Action brings together organizations and individuals from 13 states to call for an end to zero tolerance policies, for the


  •  Update (Sept 30, 2011): Dates of the conference have been changed to November 7 - 10 to accommodate a scheduling conflict at the training site.

    IIRP Canada offers its Fall Institute from November 7 - 10, 2011 in Port Hope, Ontario. IIRP conducts similar four-day events throughout the world. The first day is an introduction to the Restorative Practices Framework, the second a workshop on using circles effectively and the third and fourth days comprise a training to learn to facilitate restorative conferences. One of the nice things about this four-day event is that while it attracts many people who work in schools, from administrators to


  • RJC Launches Practitioners RegisterThis is exciting news from the UK – the creation of a register for restorative practitioners and the launching of a quality control structure. The Restorative Justice Council(RJC) "Practitioner Register" for the first time gives restorative practitioners professional recognition for their work. It has a very broad focus, open to practitioners in education, social care, criminal justice and community-based agencies as well as practitioners using these skills in their workplace. Based on the


  • I want to let everyone know about two exciting events coming up this fall at the IIRP’s main campus in Bethlehem.

    Our "Fall Intensive" is a four day event and is offered on two dates:

    October, 17-20 or November, 14-17:
    Click here for more info and to register.

    If you want to learn more about restorative practices or get others excited about this new field one of the most powerful things you can do is to the see these practices in action in real life.

  • Steve Korr, IIRP trainer and consultant, training staff and teachers at Bethlehem Area School District (from the Express-Times, photo by Lisa Massey)

    Bethlehem Area School District, which serves the city in which IIRP graduate school is based in Pennsylvania, has begun implementing the Safer Saner Schools 2-year whole school change program.

    Express-Times reporter Lisa Massey has this story about the initial


  • Circle Time at City Springs - photo by Matt Roth for Education Week Sarah Sparks at Education Week posted an article today about a study presented at the American Sociological Association showing that schools with more minority students are more likely to be subject to security measures developed in the criminal justice


  • By Laura Mirsky, Joshua Wachtel

    At the IIRP’s first participatory symposium: Turning The Tide: Bringing Restorative Practices to Schools, Organizations, Workplaces and Communities, 42 professionals came together to share and strategize about how to implement and sustain restorative practices in a wide range of settings. The symposium, held August 2-4, 2011, at the IIRP Graduate School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, was also an opportunity for 14 students to earn graduate credit, doing additional online work.

    Five keynote speakers presented — all restorative practices implementation leaders — each inspiring lively discussion. Participants contributed input regarding the remainder of the agenda, in what IIRP president Ted Wachtel called a self-organizing “open space technology conference.”

    The first keynote speaker, Joseph Roy, is superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District (15,000 students in 22 schools), which is planning


  • Laura Mirsky passed this article along to me the other day. It discusses a study which perhaps should be obvious, that schools with higher bullying rates had lower academic test scores for students than schools where bullying rates were lower. Jeannine Stein in the Los Angeles Times / For the Booster shots blog writes:

    Bullying can affect a student's academic performance, but a school's bullying climate may be linked with lower overall test scores, a study finds.

    The study, presented recently at the American Psychological Assn.'s recent annual convention in Washington, D.C., surveyed 7,304 ninth-grade students and 2,918 teachers who were randomly chosen from 284 high schools in Virginia. Students and teachers were asked about incidents of bullying and teasing


  • Since I hadn't actually been in Halifax for the International Conference in June, I passed along my blog entry about John Braithwaite's keynote to a few people who had been there, including Terry O'Connell. Terry happened to be at the Singapore Conference with Braithwaite when I emailed him so he showed John my post which I had derived from a PDF outline which is now posted on the IIRP web site. According to Terry, Braithwaite replied by saying that "whilst his name is John that he is not prepared to admit to being the 'John' who spoke at Halifax." He also asked that I say


  • Back in 2008, the IIRP eForum ran a two-part story: New Colorado Law Authorizes Restorative Justice Conferences for Adjudicated Youth: Part 1  & Part 2. In the US, Colorado has been on the cutting edge in terms of giving offenders and victims options to participate in RJ conferences, and this article profiled a variety of programs around the state.

    Now, Colorado has enacted a new law (PDF) which broadens the application of RJ for youth, grants greater rights for


  • I'll be letting everyone here know when new articles have been posted to our eForum, IIRP's online newsletter, which now hosts literally hundreds of articles about restorative practices around the world. This is a huge resource, which is fully searchable.

    New Two Part Article

    Throughout Latin America there are growing efforts to confront the social consequences of poverty and violence. Restorative practices provides an outlook that is appealing to many who are working to bring people together to resolve problems and transform the nature of society.

    This two-part article by Joshua Wachtel discusses how individuals in Latin America are implementing restorative practices in their organizations, schools and communities. Part One discusses Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia. Part Two talks about Mexico and Peru and references work in Brazil.

  • Links to Report:


    The report on the effectiveness of anti-bullying interventions was conducted September 2008 — November 2010 by


  • This is part of two of an article on how individuals in Latin America are implementing restorative practices in their organizations, schools and communities. There are now two IIRP affiliatesPart one discusses Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia. Part two talks about Mexico and Peru and references work in Brazil.

    There are now two IIRP affiliates in Latin America: the Central American Center for Restorative Practices (Centro de Prácticas Restaurativas para Centroamerica), headquartered in Costa Rica — website:, headed by Miguel Tello; and the Latin American Institute for Restorative Practices (Instituto


  • Este texto es la primera parte de un artículo que trata de cómo los individuos en América Latina están implementando las prácticas restaurativas dentro de sus organizaciones, escuelas y comunidades. La primera parte se enfoca en los esfuerzos que se están realizando en Nicaragua, Panamá y Colombia. La segunda parte [enlace] describe lo que está pasando en México y Perú y hace referencia al trabajo que se está haciendo en Brasil.

    Ahora contamos con dos afiliados al IIRP en Latino América: el Centro de Prácticas Restaurativas para Centroamerica, ubicado en Costa Rica - página web: - dirigido por Miguel Tello; y el Instituto Latino Americano de Prácticas Restaurativas, ubicado en Perú - página web:


  • By Laura Mirsky
    The fourth commencement of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School, on June 25th, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, was a little different from the past three. At 35 graduates, the number of students had grown progressively larger than those in the preceding years, as had the overflow crowd of 230-plus family and friends. More significant, perhaps, just two days before, on June 23rd, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education1 granted the IIRP official accreditation status.

     The fourth class of master’s degree


  • "I used to be really loud because I was talking over the kids in my classroom. I would yell and be sarcastic. The students’ response was, ‘You’re gonna yell at me? We yell all the time at my house.’ In my classroom now, because of restorative practices, we’re all quieter than we used to be and listening is deeper. And classes are more relaxing and less tiring than they used to be for me." —Erin Dunlevy, Spanish and drama teacher, High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry, New York City

    Teachers in 22 schools across the US are having experiences like Erin Dunlevy’s, due to the IIRP’s two-year Whole-School Change Program. An explicit road map for training entire school staffs, the program also includes built-in systems for monitoring, measuring and sustaining implementation. The complete program is spelled out in the Restorative Practices Whole-School Implementation Overview, at: ...

  • By Thomas S. Fertal

    Tom Fertal is principal of Lancaster Catholic High School, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. He is also a Master of Restorative Practices and Education candidate at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

    In the summer of 2008 I enrolled in my first restorative practices courses at the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School in Bethlehem. I had just been named vice principal of student affairs at my high school. My major responsibility was student discipline.

    As an administrator at a private, faith-based school, I had never been satisfied with the traditional system of detentions, suspensions and “Saturday school” in use at our school. I had long known that we needed an alternative to those traditional methods, but I hadn’t known what they might be.

    I had heard the term “restorative justice,” but at the time I


  • By Laura Mirsky, Mary Shafer

    InRestorative Collaboration: The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program (, Jennifer Llewellyn, professor of law at Halifax’s Dalhousie University and director of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA), described the foundations of the province’s restorative justice program. (The paper was delivered at the 2009 IIRP World Conference, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA.) This article focuses on how the restorative approach is being implemented in school and community settings within the province.

    In its twelfth year, Restorative Justice Nova Scotia (NSRJ) shows promising results in schools and communities, through a vibrant partnership between government and the


  • Most of the inmates I’d worked with … felt punished, but not many of them took responsibility for their crimes, or felt any remorse. … Everything about the system of prosecution and defense is set up so that criminals get into the habit of denying their responsibility. … It’s what their defense attorneys tell them to do. … To truly confront what they’ve done requires confronting the shame and fear and the reality of their situation. … So criminals blame someone or something else … and spend their time growing angrier and angrier about being treated like an animal. They are usually full of rage when they are released, and less prepared to function as citizens — the predictable products of the monster factory” (Schwartz, 2009, p. 127).

    So writes Sunny Schwartz in her book, Dreams from the Monster Factory. An administrator with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Schwartz is director of the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP), at