What is Restorative Justice in Schools?
Restorative Justice is an approach to school discipline that moves away from traditional punishment and provides for families, schools and communities to find a way to ensure accountability and repair the harm caused by someone's behavior. It requires students to think about themselves and how they deal with others in their community and to work on developing healthy relationships and learning how to manage conflict in a healthy manner. It allows for students to develop self-discipline and self-awareness and promote positive behavior in a caring, supportive environment. Restorative Justice is increasingly being used in schools in California to promote positive school climates and as an alternative to suspension/expulsion in response to AB 1729.
Restorative Justice in Ventura County Schools
Restorative Justice (RJ) efforts in Ventura County are led by two VCOE Departments, Leadership Support Services and Comprehensive Health and Prevention Programs.
Through collaborative efforts, VCOE has offered RJ overview, legal perspectives, restorative practices, restorative discipline and facilitator training. RJ is an integral part of the school culture and provides a constructive alternative to suspension. RJ provides a proactive approach for building a positive school climate and community based on cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect.
RJ provides processes for holding students accountable for their actions and behavior while at the same time building a nurturing school environment.
“A restorative process involves those who have a stake in a specific incident to collectively identify and address the harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and make things as right as possible.” Adapted from Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice.
"If a child doesn't know how to read, we teach. If a child doesn't know how to multiply, we teach. If a child doesn't know how to behave, we... punish?" - Tom Herner, Former President, National Association of State Directors of Special Education
Restorative Justice Resources
For more information, contact:
Dawn Anderson at 805-437-1370, DaAnderson@vcoe.org
Claudia Frandsen at 805-437-1302, CFrandsen@vcoe.org