Tuesday, May 12, 2009

State of Restorative Practices in American Schools

I am grateful to two wonderful colleagues whom I have visited with recently for these understandings.

Currently restorative practices in schools are often marginalized to end-of-the-line interventions. Apparently schools are not willing to change the culture, the status quo. In that event, I believe we must focus on helping the students who are the focus of our interventions to find a place where they can learn in an atmosphere that values:
  • Supporting these students to build and maintain peaceful and caring relationships and
  • Helping these students to flourish.
I urge restorative practices practitioners to avoid placing or being an accomplice to placing these students back into an environment where they are doomed to fail.

My research reveals that American schools tend to view restorative practices as a response to wrongdoing and conflict, rather than a basis for transformation of the school culture. Schools are strongly resistant to change. They would rather make minor adjustments to the status quo and term it reform. The Culture of Care in Schools that I help schools engage in calls for profound change.