School-based Restorative Justice is PBIS (positive behavioral interventions & supports)

This website has an informative video on PBIS.  They use a triangle and what I have known and taught as a public health model, primary, secondary, tertiary or universal, selected and indicated.  For years, I’ve been teaching the use of restorative justice classroom circles – to address all students.  I’ve been teaching these three categories in workshops and trainings.

In my trainings with teachers I would engage the audience by asking for a volunteer, I would offer that the audience could help “volunteer” people.  I asked for the “universal student” the one that teachers did not have to worry about the “rule” follower.  That person came to the front of my presentation area.

I then asked for another volunteer, the “at-risk” student.  The one who you knew was on the edge.  Maybe things at home weren’t 100% or this student challenged the rules.  The audience would call out a co-worker and send them up.

Finally I asked for the person to represent the student that got in trouble.  The audience was usually more comfortable and sent forward a staff with laughs.

I’ve done this will lots of groups.  I use the three standing at the front of the room as props.  I ask audience about seeing themselves in all three people, all three levels (primary, secondary, tertiary) or (universal, selected and indicated).

I take people by the elbow and move them around.  I demonstrate when we take the student who caused harm out of the classroom or school.  Remove them without communication to the other two, we make the climate, less trustworthy.  I ask the group, of those that were harmed by this student, who were they.  The teachers/audience can see if was probably one of the other two students.

I show how school-based restorative justice helps give voice to the victim, the bystanders and helps them ALL be involved in the problem-solving, conflict resolution.  Giving students the chance to explain to each other how they see positive behaviors and how students themselves can benefit from a peaceful school climate.

I have studied shapes for years now.  I like how this triangle demonstrates the three groupings.  I have also learned that the triangle can represent power.  Even though the top of the triangle is 1-5% is that the group with “power” in our schools.  If you consider “power” being influence over others.  How much time do we spend responding when there is a seriously violent incident?

My heart went out to the community in Marinette, WI after a student held classmates hostage and killed himself. (Summary article).  I could only think how if we address the needs of victims, we could prevent these types of incidents.

It seems the person who is hurt, eventually will retaliate with a perceived justification to right earlier wrongs.

I see School-based Restorative Justice as very efficient, PBIS and I know schools around the nation are being pushed to implement these strategies.  The website PBIS.ORG, is full of helpful presentations and I see restorative justice as part of every item I reviewed.

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