Monday, December 28, 2015

Facebook page for "Restorative Justice Education"

A new Facebook page was created for the nonprofit organization "Restorative Justice Education." This nonprofit was created for the purposes of supporting the work I do using restorative justice practices and principles to create a Culture of Care in schools.

If you use Facebook, I invite you to visit the "Restorative Justice Education" page, "like" it, and leave a "comment." I also invite you to request that we be "friends" on Facebook.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Dr Tom Cavanagh

Friday, December 11, 2015

Truancy - the problem and solutions

Truancy is one of the issues involved in the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects children of color. In our work at the pilot high school near Denver we found that in creating a Culture of Care based on restorative justice principles and practices truancy became a non-issue because these high school aged children wanted to be in school. In fact, one teacher said that the issue of students who generally were truant and were now coming to class was the new problem because she did not know how to teach them. My reply was - isn't that a wonderful problem?

So here is a graphic display of the problem:

I hope this graphic helps to explain the issue.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New York City Teachers Union Supports Restorative Justice

The New York City Teachers Union Calls for Investment in Restorative Justice on the image to the left to watch a powerful video produced by Teachers Unite, or TU, which includes NYC teachers and students who are calling upon policymakers and advocates to invest in restorative justice in public schools. Help us to increase awareness about this effort by sharing this video with your networks. Use the hashtag: #investinschoolsnotpolice and spread the word! TU Executive Director, Sally Lee, also wrote a piece on police in schools that was featured in the Huffington Post. Read more (

Friday, November 20, 2015

Learn how to facilitate RJ in College Student Misconduct Settings

The Skidmore College
Project on Restorative Justice
Campus Restorative Justice
Facilitator Training 
Restorative Justice for College Student Misconduct
April 11-13, 2016
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Learn more about the Campus RJ Training conference
In this intensive training, you will gain a thorough understanding of restorative justice principles and practices, practical information about program implementation, and the satisfaction of having participated in a powerful training experience.
Open to student affairs administrators, faculty, students, and other staff interested in implementing restorative justice on their campuses.
  • Develop an understanding of the philosophy and principles of RJ
  • Gain familiarity with RJ practices and their application in campus conduct
  • Apply RJ practices to campus climate issues and residential life community-building
  • Acquire strong RJ process facilitation skills
  • Understand the relationship between RJ and the "model code"
  • Learn about the effectiveness of RJ practices based on current research
  • Explore practical "next steps" in implementing RJ in a campus community

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lectureship in Restorative Justice

Professor Christ Marshall, a colleague and friend at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand, recently sent out this announcement for a lectureship in restorative justice at the university.

Here is the link to more information about the opportunity.

Hinkley High School Principal Shared Video of Circle

Hinkley High School Principal Matthew Willis recently shared this video of a circle with me. This is the explanation he wrote accompanying the video.

This was an important Restorative Circle because we took the time to develop the ideals and values of community.  A community does not ignore things when they happen.  They address then to move forward.  Our community cannot accept violence, misconduct, or inadequate academic achievement as the standard.  We must develop a Culture of Care, based a relationships, that address our actions as a community.  Hook (2003) writes, "Community is the coming together of a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other; whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to rejoice together, morn together, and to delight in each other and make the conditions of others our own" (p. 196, emphasis added).  So often we forget the importance of developing community, relationships, and our commitments to each other.  Yet, without relationships built on the ideals of community, we miss the point. 

I have seen many of you beginning to use the Community Circle approach to develop STRONG relationships and develop a community within your classrooms.  Some circles address harm, as in this video, while others develop strong relationships, a Culture of Care, safe educational environment, shared learning, and even secret celebratory codes.  The evidence is mounting that schools that engage in Restorative Practices WILL change their disciplinary and academic outcomes.

Please continue to demonstrate the importance of community as we leverage our Culture of Care to maximize the potential of every student in our school.  If you are still unsure about the power of Restorative Practices (relationship building circles and conferences, co-created norms, ...) in the classroom then I would check out the following teachers:  Berberich, Bicknase, Thompson, Lebsack.  I've seen each of these teachers in action using restorative practices and circles to enhance their educational environment.

Also, if you use the community circle or restorative practices approach in your classroom, please invite me into see your intentional approach or even support you with approximation.  I'd love to document your initiative and add you to my list.

Saturday, August 29, 2015