What are Restorative Practices?
Restorative practices focuses on strengthening relationships between individuals and social connections within communities. It focuses on inclusiveness, relationship-building and problem-solving. It champions such restorative methods as circles for teaching social and emotional competencies and conflict resolution conferences that bring victims, offenders and their supporters together handle wrongdoing. Rather than punishment, students are led to reflect on and take responsibility for their actions and develop plans to repair harm. In addition to conflict resolution, restorative practices offer guidance for day-to-day interactions by focusing on strengthening and mending relationships.
A group of researchers evaluated the impact of Restorative Practices on Pittsburg Public Schools in 2018 and found that:
- Implementation of restorative practices through PERC improved overall school climates, as rated by teachers.
- Implementation of restorative practices reduced the average suspension rate: During the study period, average suspension rates decreased in both PERC and non-PERC schools, but rates decreased more in PERC schools.
- Suspension rates of African American students and of those from low-income families also went down in PERC schools, shrinking the disparities in suspension rates between African American and white students and between low- and higher-income students.
Augustine, Catherine H., John Engberg, Geoffrey E. Grimm, Emma Lee, Elaine Lin Wang, Karen Christianson, and Andrea A. Joseph, Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions? An Evaluation of the Impact of Restorative Practices in a Mid-Sized Urban School District, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-2840-DOJ, 2018. As of February 06, 2020: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2840.html
LINK TO THE STUDY CAN BE FOUND HERE HTTPS://WWW.RAND.ORG/PUBS/RESEARCH_REPORTS/RR2840.HTML