Tulsa Peace Fellowship

There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin


Why Do Kids Act Out? Oakland Classrooms Try Healing Instead of Punishment
As executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, Fania Davis sees programs like hers as part of the way to end the school-to-prison pipeline.


Nelson Mandela’s adage, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends” captures the profoundly inclusive nature of restorative justice (RJ). The hallmark of RJ is intentionally bringing together people with seemingly diametrically opposed viewpoints—particularly people who have harmed with people who have been harmed—in a carefully prepared face-to-face encounter where everyone listens and speaks with respect and from the heart no matter their differences.

If the school had responded in the usual way by suspending Tommy, harm would have been replicated, not healed. Punitive justice asks only what rule or law was broken, who did it, and how they should be punished. It responds to the original harm with more harm. Restorative justice asks who was harmed, what are the needs and obligations of all affected, and how do they figure out how to heal the harm.

Had punitive discipline ruled the day, Tommy’s story would have gone unheard and his needs unmet. Had he been suspended, Tommy’s chances of engaging in violence and being incarcerated would have dramatically increased. Suspension likely would have exacerbated harm on all sides—to Tommy, his teacher, his family, and ultimately, his community. His teacher would have been deprived of hearing Tommy’s story. She might have quit teaching...

full article here: http://www.alternet.org/education/why-do-kids-act-out-oakland-class...¤t_page=1

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Restorative Justice Turns Violent Schools Around - examples from Philadelphia

Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia’s infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. Rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed both metal detectors and barred windows. The police predicted chaos. But, instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year the number of serious incidents fell by 90 percent.

School officials stated it wasn’t just the humanizing physical makeover of the facility that helped. They also credit the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen

AVP, when tailored to school settings, emphasizes student empowerment, relationship building, and anger management over institutional control and surveillance. There are no aggressive security guards in schools using the AVP model; instead they have engagement coaches, who provide support, encouragement, and a sense of safety...Trained in nonviolent conflict resolution, the engagement coaches “help mediate disputes rather than dole out punishment,” Jeff Deeney reported in the Atlantic. Because students come to trust their engagement coaches, the school has been able to forestall potential conflicts: For example, “Coaches often get advance word,” Deeney wrote, “when something’s about to go down in the hallways.”

http://www.projectcensored.org/24-restorative-justice-turns-violent...

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