"Problems cannot be solved at the level of awareness that created them."
That thing you do....
Restorative Justice Initiative and
CoINTEL Productions interviewed 16 New York City-based restorative justice practitioners and advocates, including several high school students, at two events in May 2017. We asked a series of questions in order to create a better understanding of what restorative justice is and why it's important.
RJ holds the harmer accountable for what they’ve done wrong and gives them the chance to make amends. RJ also gives the harmed a chance to say how it affected them and they get to ask for what they need. Restorative practices at BSMT include Advisory Circles, Peer Mediation, Conflict coaching and Mediation with an adult mediator.
Black and Latino students are disproportionately suspended and this has created a "school to prison pipeline." Putting racial justice at the center, RJ works to change the culture from punitive to one of accountability, understanding, empowerment, and healing so that our students and staff grow and thrive.
Types of RJ practices at BSMT
Circles are a type of Restorative Justice practice that is widely used as a response to harm in a community. In the Circle, the group comes together to engage in healing, support, decision-making and/or conflict resolution. The group will work to form an intentional interaction in which honest communication and right relationship are the norm. Through the circle process, the group will come to a new understanding of themselves, each other, and the path forward.
Students are trained by a professional mediator and certified.
They lead mediation for low level, non-physical disputes between students.
Peer Mediators, who co-mediate, do not judge or make any decisions
regarding punishment. Peer Mediators listen and help the parties
communicate and come up with their own solutions. If there is an agreement,
the parties fill out an agreement sheet. Peer Mediators meet throughout the year to develop skills.
Adult lead mediation for low to high level disputes between students or between students and staff. Mediators, who co-mediate, do not judge or make any decisions regarding punishment. Mediators listen and help the parties communicate and come up with their own solutions. If there is an agreement, the parties fill out an agreement sheet.
One-on-one conversation to explore what happened, understand the student's needs and interests. We listen, reflect, and try to understand what was beneath the behavior. We encourage the student to reflect on their part in the conflict and how they might make the situation better and make amends. We question their role as well as the role of the other party had in the conflict. Conflict coaching each party is a prelude to Mediation.
One-on-one conversation to listen, reflect, and understand what is going on for the student.
We are excited to have everyone in the school community get involved with us. It takes the whole community to support our young people. If you are a parent or a guardian, we welcome our participation and input.
Conflict is not just inevitable, but it is a gift.
Conflict sometimes provides us with energy insight and new possibility , and newness cannot come without conflict.
It is not a price to be paid and endured, but condition to be sought, welcomed and nurtured.
To manage conflict then would be to allow it, not suppress it, to open our doors and windows to its fresh wind.
—Caroline Westerhoff, minster, Atlanta GA