…that restorative practices can promote students’ sense of fairness?


Traditional school discipline is driven by three questions:

  1. What rule was broken?
  2. Who broke the rule?
  3. What is an appropriate consequence?

Restorative school discipline practices are driven by three different questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. Who was harmed?
  3. What needs to happen to make things right?

Restorative practices focus on repairing relationships after a discipline incident (e.g., bullying, harassment, or social discrimination) has happened so that everyone can move on. It gives students a voice and encourages them to tell their side of the story. The goals of restorative practices are to:

  1. empower students to make their voices heard and bring issues about physical or emotional safety to the attention of school adults,
  2. encourage students to participate in conversations and discussions facilitated by an adult where all sides of an incident are heard, and
  3. support students in repairing any hurt and taking responsibility for their behavior.

Students respond very positively to this approach. They see restorative practices as a fair way to resolve conflicts, because both the victim and the perpetrator are treated equitably. That is, the victim feels that he or she has been given a voice and the perpetrator can also tell their side of the story, assume responsibility for their actions, and make better choices in the future. Restorative practices encourage students to make their voices heard and advocate for their own safety.