New Restorative Justice Toolkit For Educators May Help Reduce Disparities In School Disciplinary Policies And Practices
Washington – The national civil rights organization Advancement Project today announced the release of an innovative tool for educators that will help improve school climate and reduce disparities in school discipline. The Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools toolkit was jointly released by Advancement Project, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign.
“We all want safe, high quality schools that care about our children and give them every opportunity to succeed,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “As schools have relied on overly harsh school disciplinary policies, students, particularly students of color, have been pushed out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system for minor misbehavior. We cannot reverse this trend through mere aspirations alone, but must use proactive policies which have been proven to work.”
The newly released restorative practices toolkit focuses on strategies to build healthy relationships between students and adults in educational settings. This approach allows students and individuals to learn from their mistakes and make amends for wrongdoing. The “restorative practices” model includes addressing and discussing the needs of the school community, resolving conflict, holding individuals and groups accountable, repairing and restoring relationships, and reducing and preventing harmful behavior.
“Advancement Project has been a pioneer in the movement to end the criminalization of youth in schools and has long supported restorative justice,” said Thena Robinson Mock, Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Campaign Director, Advancement Project. “This approach leads to better educational outcomes for students by reducing suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary referrals. We are encouraged to see educators enthusiastically embracing this approach to reduce disparities in school discipline since students of color are disproportionately impacted by overly harsh school disciplinary policies.”
The toolkit, which is designed for educators, will be discussed in greater detail on March 21, during the American Federation of Teachers-sponsored Educators’ Summit on School Discipline Conference.
For more information on the toolkit or other alternatives to punitive school disciplinary policies, please visit www.safequalityschools.org or contact Jennifer Farmer at 202.487.0967