Restoring Community

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"A Philly first: No schools on Pennsylvania's 'persistently dangerous' list." Restorative practices are credited in the article for helping schools make this progress.

The NEA, the nation's largest teacher's union, hosts a talk, "School to Prison Pipeline - Restorative Strategies" with Kevin Gilbert, a member of the NEA's Executive Committee, Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 7-8 p.m. EDT.

The 6th International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) International Conference in Brussels, "Making deprivation of children's liberty a last resort: Towards evidence-based policies on alternatives," takes place in Belgium on December 3-4, 2014.

Higher Education

In "Rebuilding broken trust in a college community," Julia Steiny discusses the restorative justice work of Skidmore College Associate Dean of Student Affairs David Karp, and recounts a restorative conference held in the wake of a snake prank gone awry.

A Washington Post blogger asks, "Does ‘restorative justice’ in campus sexual assault cases make sense?" and answers that it could, citing research from the UK and practice in Arizona.

Police

Civil Rights activist John Due, commenting on the killing by police of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, asks, "What happened to the idea of 'restorative justice,' where everybody is a winner in a win-win game rather than a zero-sum game?" He argues that adopting principles of restorative justice can unite a community, and that the proper role of police is to be working with community to solve problems.

This sentiment was echoed by a reader of The Washington Post who argues that restorative justice could help change "cop culture" in the wake of Ferguson.

EdWeek published several articles this month focusing on the militarization of school police under truly shocking headlines: "School police get military weapons, vehicles, equipment from federal agency," "San Diego School District to return armored vehicle to Defense Department," and "School police in Los Angeles will give up grenade launchers." Not only do these headlines demonstrate the wrong way for police to be working in schools; the IIRP argues that police in schools, just like teachers and administrators, should be trained to use restorative practices effectively in their work.

Schools

Key players in West Philadelphia High School's effective implementation of restorative practices several years ago will each start new schools in Philadelphia this year. Not discussed in the article is that the schools have started the year with IIRP restorative practices professional development.

Download "A crisis of culture? Maintaining school values in an ever-changing societal landscape," in which Mark N. Covelle and Matthew R. Gale, both assistant principals at Emmaus (Pennsylvania) High School, discuss how restorative practices can help schools strike a balance between the need for order and decorum and changing cultural norms. (Posted with permission from the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals: The Pennsylvania Administrator, Vol. 18, No. 3, Sept. 2014.)

The University of Texas's Professor Marilyn Armour, director of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue, argues that "Restorative discipline should be common practice to lower the dropout rate for both students and teachers."

"Sparing the rod, rebuilding the child," an article in the Mail and Guardian, Africa's first online magazine, discusses a push by teachers in South Africa to implement restorative practices in schools.

Australian radio discusses the use of restorative practices to deal with truancy; Real Justice Australia's Terry O'Connell is quoted in the piece. Listen now.

Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Read an extremely thorough roundup citing research and practice on "Discipline Disparities" by The Equity Project.

"Closing the school-to-prison pipeline": District Administration looks at school districts across the U.S. that are moving away from zero tolerance, with a section on schools using restorative practices.

Advocacy: In a video announcing Dignity in School's "5th Annual National Week of Action," October 4-11, students and adults speak out against school pushout.

Oakland schools and police reach a "Memorandum of Understanding" on treatment of kids by police in schools; the community takes credit for the policy victory.

A new half-hour documentary, "Solutions Not Suspensions," by the Coleman Advocates in San Francisco, makes a compelling case against zero tolerance and for restorative practices.

"How do we fix the school-to-prison pipeline?" In this podcast (also transcribed) lawyer Daniel Losen, director of the Civil Rights Project’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies, looks at issues surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline through a legal lens.

Around the US

NEA Today looks across the U.S. and finds "More teachers adopting restorative discipline practices," noting, "It’s about building healthy relationships between educators and students."

In a piece titled "Restorative justice keeps students in the classroom," Tricia Hill, the superintendent of Mount Morris Consolidated Schools in Michigan, writes, "We are running Restorative Justice at E.A. Johnson Memorial High School with tremendous results — experiencing a 47 percent decrease in discipline referrals and zero expulsions during the past school year."

From Davis, California, this report, "Moving toward a restorative justice approach in the schools," highlights a story about how a fight between two boys over a desk was favorably resolved by talking it out.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District in California writes restorative practices into its district policy after Director of Student Services Phil D'Agostino surveys administrators to find that "86% of school administration already use restorative practices in some form."

Justice

Unplanned restorative justice: In this beautifully told story, during a parole hearing, a teen killer – now almost 40 and petitioning for release from prison – and his family offer apologies to his victim's family, who offer forgiveness in return.

Remembering a restorative justice pioneer: "Restorative justice is as big as it is in Colorado mainly because of Beverly Title," says Longmont Public Safety Chief Mike Butler of the author, teacher, nonprofit founder, youth advocate and peacemaker who died September 12. "There's no doubt in my mind that she's been the biggest influence in our state."

Meanwhile, Boulder County, Colorado, announces plans to expand restorative justice for juvenile offenders.

In the context of the furor over the NFL's handling of players who commit domestic violence, Professor Leigh Goodmark, writing at the New York Times, suggests that restorative justice can play a role in domestic violence cases, particularly when requested by victims of abuse. Read "Healthy alternatives to prosecution can help victims."

Social Work

In a short video clip, Kris Miner of St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program in Wisconsin, talks about how circles can be helpful for people to process grief and loss.

Read past editions of the News Roundup.

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