At the heart of Restorative Justice (RJ) is the need for people to be heard and respected.  For many schools, it can be difficult to honor this need when students and teachers must deal with overloaded schedules, a heavy focus on testing, and underfunded supports like counselors or social workers. To help address this gap, CCEJ helps schools throughout Southern California bring Restorative Practices to their campuses.

CCEJ offers trainings for teachers to bring the culture and practices of Restorative Justice to life, including:

  • Community Building training: participants explore Restorative values and practices by creating and facilitating Community Building Circles, and
  • Restorative Dialogue workshops: participants develop tools to build, sustain and repair relationships when harm and conflicts arise in and out of the classroom.

Restorative Dialogue is one of the most flexible practices in the RJ toolkit.  A participant in our most recent Restorative Dialogue training, Kimiko Warner – Turner, shared how she has been using Restorative Dialogue:

I had a successful conversation with a class that had many challenges in speaking and listening to other. I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with them about what I had observed. It was amazing. We all quietly listened to each other for the first time this year for an extended period of time.

At CCEJ, we know that restorative dialogue can help youth understand and learn from the impact their actions have on them and on the greater community.  As Kimiko saw firsthand, these two-way conversations can create class or group agreements and support teachers and students to hold each other accountable for honoring these agreements.

Restorative dialogue and other practices are foundational to ensuring that students, teachers and administrators can build positive relationships with each other, reducing the likelihood that schools will use harsh forms of discipline to respond to student behavior.

Kimiko’s story is one of many examples of how CCEJ supports educators and other school staff to build environments where students learn and thrive.  Read more about CCEJ’s Restorative Justice in Schools work in an EdSource special report:  “Full Circle:  California Schools Work to Transform Discipline.”  To read the report, click here: https://edsource.org/topic/full-circle

To get involved in CCEJ’s RJ in Schools work, contact Belia Mayeno Saavedra, Director of Restorative Justice in Schools at bsaavedra@cacej.org.

 

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