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If you are interested in adopting a Restorative Justice philosophy in your school I would suggest that you use the term Restorative Approach rather than Restorative Justice. While this is a simple shift – it eliminates getting stuck in defining what ‘justice’ looks like, as there are adults and students who will see ‘justice’ only from a punitive or equalizing point of view which then becomes problematic in the process.
More often than not – implementing a Restorative approach will be seen as a method the office uses to work with students behavior and this, too, is problematic, as the idea needs to align with the way the school thinks and works with building relationships and community. Starting with community is important and the text: Restorative Circles in School: Building Community and Enhancing Learning by Bob Costello, Joshua Wachtel and Ted Wachtel – A practical guide for educators – is where you would need to start. In addition to this, the text: ‘The Little Book if Restorative Discipline for Schools – teaching responsibility; creating caring climates by Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz and Judy H. Mullet is also a great read to start to come to understand a restorative approach.
There are many, many more texts, but I think these two are a great start.
Todd Gribbon, Principal, Senior Elementary School, Burks Falls, ON