Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 14

Justice Isn’t Blind: Why San Francisco Day School includes diversity, equity, and inclusion work with restorative practices and why other schools should too. By Dr. Ruth Bissell, Betsy Brody, and Loren Moyé San Francisco Day School People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. –Dr. Maya Angelou C ontext Matters: What happened? In 2015 San Francisco Day School underwent significant leadership changes: The community welcomed a new head of school and a new middle school division head, both committed to bringing more diversity, equity, inclusion, and innovation to the school. Since then, there has been a systems-wide approach to the work, which includes the Board, our new lower school division head, our Dean of Faculty, and our admissions department. These changes provided an opportunity to review and refine policies, practices, and pedagogy. Analysis of the student handbook and varying classroom practices uncovered an uninten- tional mis-alignment with the school’s mission of nurturing and inspiring students from diverse backgrounds. Instead, the school was using punitive discipline practices. While fac- ulty were steeped in Responsive Classroom training (which includes restorative practices), implementation varied and lacked cohesion with diversity work already underway. A small pattern began to emerge where some middle school students, boys, and students of color, were sent to the office for disruptive behavior or needing time away from learning because of discipline problems. 1 What was happening? The new division head had three wonders: 1. The notion of discipline is based on perspective. A more appropriate way of thinking of student behavior and dis- cipline could be in the frame of developmentally appropriate self-regulation and an individual’s ability to monitor and regulate their emotional behavior, over time understanding choices and the consequences of choices and actions. See Dan Siegel’s Brainstorm (2013). Page 12 Winter 2019 CSEE Connections