Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 11

R ES TORATI V E S C HO O L D I S C I PL I N E While restorative discipline represents a tectonic paradigm shift away from punitive zero-tolerance discipline, schools can strug- gle with exactly how and where to imple- ment restorative practices. As a result, the promises of the restorative approach can remain elusive. we became. We still couldn’t see how to de- velop and implement these practices on a functional level within the school.” 3 Anne White, Community Development Ad- ministrator at Waldorf School on the Roar- ing Fork, identifies four challenges facing schools as they seek to implement restor- ative practices. Though White (2017) refers to a Waldorf school, the issues she raises are common challenges for any private or pub- lic K-12 school. In this article, I’ll explore some common challenges schools face as they seek to in- tegrate restorative practices into the school social fabric. I’ll then offer some solutions and illustrate how one K-8 school exempli- fies what’s not only possible, but achievable. Challenge #1: Schools are not justice sys- tems and students aren’t criminals. Four Challenges When any school pursues a restorative ap- proach to discipline, they often don’t real- ize they are inheriting the paradigm and practices of restorative justice. Restorative justice was designed as an alternative to prosecution in the criminal justice system. Educators and administrators are now real- izing that restorative justice models are not quite a fit in K-12 schools. There are reasons for this. “We had become familiar with restorative justice and we instinctively felt it was a promising approach but we had some con- cerns. The term ‘justice’ is a heavy word and still evokes feelings of enforcement. The more we brought experts in, the more discontent “ First, restorative justice is fundamentally re- active vs. proactive. Conventional restorative justice models (e.g. Peacemaking Circles and Community Group Conferencing) were designed for a one-time, after-the-fact en- counter between those involved in an inci- dent of crime. They were not designed to address patterns of behavior, or provide a continuous engagement on a day-to-day basis to help students learn about their The restorative approach interprets disruptive be- havior as an opportunity for deeper engagement and problem solving with the student. ” 3. White, Anne (2017). “The Restorative Way at a Waldorf School” Retrieved from https://restorativeway.com/2018/10/the- restorative-way-at-waldorf/ CSEE Connections Continues on page 10 Winter 2019 Page 9