William Rainey Harper
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Practice is a system of formal and informal processes that build and sustain a culture of kindness, respect, responsibility, and justice. This is achieved through emphasizing the importance of trusting relationships as central to building community and repairing relationships when harm has occurred. The fundamental premise of restorative practices is that people are happier, more cooperative, and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.
Restorative practices cultivate a culture in which everyone feels like they belong. They build a particular sense of community in which every member-- students, teachers, parent volunteers, aides--feel that they are seen, heard, and respected. Restorative practices promote inclusiveness, relationship-building and problem solving, through such restorative methods as circles for teaching conflict resolution to address wrongdoing. Instead of punishment, students are encouraged to reflect on and take responsibility for their actions and come up with plans to repair harm.
Restorative practices in schools are based on restorative justice principles instead of punishment. They aim first to build classroom communities that are supported by clear agreements, authentic communication, and specific tools to bring issues and conflicts forward in a helpful way. They provide specific pathways to repair harm by bringing together those who are affected by misbehavior in a dialogue to address concerns, achieve understanding, and come to agreement about setting things right. In addition to serving the cause of fairness and justice, restorative approaches make safer schools and contribute to social and emotional learning.
Source: Restorative Practices and Discipline- Parent Handbook