“Bringing restorative practices into our district and school community is a positive step in the right direction, and a necessary shift to change the way young people address conflict and self-awareness / consciousness.” - SSW, ER Taylor ES


RP in the News

Public Radio/TV Podcasts and news stories


Systemic Racism Compilation

May 4, 2015 | Race Forward advances racial justice through research, media and practice. Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systematic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.

View video on YouTube

Safe and Supportive Schools Policy ADOPTED

In February of 2014, the adoption of the Safe and Supportive Schools Policy deepened and extended positive tiered behavioral interventions and alternatives to suspension, increased instructional time, and reduced racial disparities, supporting full implementation of Restorative Practices (RP) and School‐Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) at All Schools. Board Resolution 1312‐10A4 (pdf)

Restorative Practices and Trauma Informed Care at El Dorado ES: Podcast

Kids today deal with a lot, both in school and at home, but those living in poverty face especially difficult challenges. Many children who grow up in poverty are exposed to violent neighborhoods and abusive or absent caregivers. For some, the hardship may only be temporary, but others may have never lived without such obstacles.

Research shows that long-term exposure to traumatic circumstances, especially at a young age, can alter normal brain functions. In Episode 4 of  EdTalk Bay Area, we'll look at the impact of trauma on young minds. What does this mean for our students’ ability to learn and the discipline practices of our schools?

Listen to the Podcast at United Way of the Bay Area website.

View June 2014 report on Restorative Practices at Eldorado Elementary
(Kelsey Chandler, third speaker on video)

Suspending Judgment - SFUSD considers alternatives to suspensions that some say unfairly impact students of color

12.03.13 - 4:20 pm | Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez - SFBG Online

Early evidence shows that Restorative Practices work better than suspensions, and prevent behavioral problems down the road too.

In San Francisco public schools students can be sent home for talking back to a teacher, wearing a hat indoors, or sporting sagging pants. These infractions sound like the daily life of a kid, but the state calls them "willful defiance," a category of suspensions that are nebulous to define at best.

Like the old saying about pornography, teachers say they know it when they see it, but students and parents alike are now calling foul on the practice.

The suspensions are so abundant in the San Francisco Unified School District that a movement has risen up against it. Sending kids home not only is an ineffective punishment, opponents say, it also can lead youth into the criminal justice system.

Now San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney is proposing a resolution that would ban willful defiance suspensions in San Francisco schools altogether.

"There will still be situations where we need to send a student home, but willful defiance will not be one of those reasons," he told the Guardian. "Change is hard, complicated, and messy. But we can no longer deal with discipline or interactions with our students in that sort of way."

He plans to introduce the resolution at the Dec. 10 Board of Education meeting, and if it passes, he said full implementation may take until the next school year.

There's a fight to ban willful defiance suspensions statewide as well, but so far it's been stymied. Just last month, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 420, a bill mirroring aspects of Haney's proposal. Those advocating for such a ban say it's an issue of racial justice.

San Francisco's African American and Latino students together suffer 80 percent of willful defiance suspensions, according to SFUSD data. The nonprofit student group Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth decried this statistic as an injustice, supporting the ban.

The San Francisco Board of Education took tentative steps to reduce suspensions as a whole in 2010, voting to introduce a new disciplinary system called Restorative Practices district wide. It's complex, but basically asks students to talk things out in what are called "restorative circles" that include everyone involved in an incident, like a fight....

Read full story at San Francisco Bay Guardian Online


Making kids feel safe keeps them in school

04/18/12 5:22 PM

Kudos to the San Francisco Unified School District for taking a new, restorative approach to school discipline (“Making misbehavior a teachable moment,” April 10). Providing safe learning environments is just as important as keeping our streets safe.

In fact, the two may go hand in hand. Students who are “pushed out” of the classroom all too often fall behind, drop out and end up on a path leading into the criminal justice system. According to a recent study, students who were suspended or expelled were five times more likely to drop out and 11 times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system than similar students with no record of discipline.

Preventing crime in San Francisco begins with keeping children in the classroom and encouraging them to graduate. Studies have consistently shown that kids who stay in school live 10 years longer and make double the salary of their counterparts. On the negative side, non-graduates are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, serve time in prison and earn a lower wage throughout their lives.

Fortunately, proactive policies, such as the “restorative practices” implemented by the SFUSD, emphasize the importance of building positive relationships while holding kids accountable for their actions. These innovative approaches certainly will go a long way toward keeping these young adults on the right track in life.

Hopefully more school districts in California will follow the lead of the SFUSD.

Gregory P. Suhr
Chief of the San Francisco
Police Department

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner


A People-Focused Solution 
Restorative justice programs may offer the best new hope for reducing violence in Oakland schools and the city overall, but their future funding is uncertain.

By Jean Tepperman
East Bay Express

May 22, 2013

Students at Montera Middle School in Oakland said the school's eighth-grade class was full of "drama" earlier this year. There had been a fight between two girls, and the conflict had broadened to the girls' friends. Some students "were coming to school in sweats, ready to fight," recalled Yari Ojeda-Sandel, a staffer at Montera who coordinates the school's new conflict-resolution program known as restorative justice.

The school's principal suspended the two girls who had fought. And when the two students returned to campus, "Miss Yari brought us together," said one of the girls. "Some of the things [the other girl] said — that she had a lot going on [problems outside school] — since I heard that, I felt bad that I fought her for something so small."

Read full story - A People Focused Solution- Restorative Justice in Oakland


Brown signs 2 student discipline bills

Jill Tucker - Published 9:40 p.m., Friday, September 21, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown backed statewide efforts to reduce the suspension and expulsion rates in schools, signing two bills Friday that increase the use of alternative methods to discipline students.

AB1729 requires schools to suspend or expel students only after other efforts have been made to correct the behavior, including counseling, parent conferences, restorative justice techniques and after-school programs. This does not apply to zero-tolerance offenses - like bringing a gun or knife to school.
AB2537 clarifies that bringing over-the-counter medications or imitation firearms to school are not zero-tolerance offenses and therefore do not automatically lead to a recommendation for expulsion as is the case with real firearms or controlled substances.

The governor vetoed a more controversial third measure that would have banned principals and other administrators from suspending students for misbehavior classified as willful defiance.
The measure intended to address recent studies in California schools showing a disproportionate suspension rate of students of color for willful defiance.

"I cannot support limiting the authority of local school leaders, especially at a time when budget cuts have greatly increased class sized and reduced the number of school personnel," the governor wrote in his veto message. "It is important that teachers and school officials retain broad discretion to manage and set the tone in the classroom."

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jtucker@sfchronicle.com


School, student mediation creates path to success - THE RICHMOND EXPERIENCE

Anne Stuhldreher - SF GATE
Monday, June 18, 2012

The head of security at Richmond High School is Darryl Robinson. But everyone there knows him as "Coach D." When he started 15 years ago, fights broke out nonstop. Students roamed the halls. And things didn't improve much over the years.

Robinson remembers standing in front of a classroom and asking how many students had ever seen someone get killed.

"Every hand in the room shot up," he said.

Robinson and the school took a no-nonsense approach to restoring order. If students fought, they were suspended for five days. If they were five minutes late, they got detention. If they didn't show, they were sent to Saturday school. No-shows to Saturday school were suspended.

In the first half of the 2010-2011 school year, with an enrollment of approximately 1,600 students, the school issued nearly 500 suspensions.

But the discipline didn't make things better, Robinson admits: "The kids come back, and I guarantee whatever they did will happen again."

Read full story - RP in Richmond, CA - SF Gate


Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85%

April 23, 2012 By jestevens

THE FIRST TIME THAT principal Jim Sporleder tried the New Approach to Student Discipline at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, he was blown away. Because it worked. In fact, it worked so well that he never went back to the Old Approach to Student Discipline. This is how it went down:

A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension. Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly:

“Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?” He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?”

Read full story - Lincoln High School in Walla Walla-new approach to discipline


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Restorative Practices
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