WHAT ARE RESTORATIVE PRACTICES?
Restorative practices is a field within the social sciences that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities. Restorative practices are used in schools to foster an equitable and positive school culture. Restorative practices focus on strengthening relationships and connections between individuals, both youth and adults, in a school community.
The intention of restorative justice is to shift the focus of student discipline from punishment to reflecting learning. It emphasizes accountability, making amends, and facilitating dialogue between affected parties.
The concept of restorative justice is based on three pillars:
Harms and needs. Empathy and awareness is required to understand the harm that was done as well as the factors that might have contributed to the situation.
Obligation (to make things right). This entails a moderated process that helps stakeholders understand, discuss, and resolve the problem
Engagement. All parties—victim, offender, and the broader community— are involved in the dialogue and the healing process.
Restorative practices in schools are strategies that use the underlying principles of restorative justice instead of traditional punishment measures. They represent a positive step forward in helping all students—from elementary school through middle school and high school—learn how to navigate conflict resolution, take ownership of their behavior, and practice empathy, perspective-taking, and forgiveness.