Restorative Practice (RP) represents a shift in the way people think about their interactions with each other – essentially, about their relationships. There is a national outcry imploring school systems to reduce exclusionary at home suspension practices, which we know disproportionately affect students of color as well as students with special needs and low socio-economic status. Unfortunately, though many agree that the administrators should suspend less, there is much confusion and, quite frankly, frustration regarding what educators should do instead. The founders of Blue Water Educational Consulting have taken the theory and philosophy of Restorative Practice and have developed a practical framework for administrators to implement Restorative Practices on a daily basis in administrative offices and in the Alternative to Suspension Classroom, and as a replacement for lunch and after school detention.
The fundamental premise of RP is that people are happier, more cooperative and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them rather than to them or for them…
Restorative Practice can be a nebulous term; for us, RP encompasses four basic and fundamental premises, which guides and coaches students in the following areas:
- Owning and Recognizing Behavior
- Creating and Implementing Replacement Strategies for Behavior
- Making Amends with Those Harmed Directly and Indirectly
- Successfully Reintegrating Back Into School and Classroom Setting and Environment
In the traditional mindset, those in authority hoped that students would come back from a home suspension ready to “do” all the elements listed above; in reality, we know that students come back from a home suspension often angry at the person at the school who “got them in trouble.” Students are capable of accomplishing the aforementioned when they are supported and guided through a specific Restorative Practice Curriculum.