Juvenile Justice Is Not Only Blind, But Deaf

Published by – Increasingly, the formal legal system has taken responsibility for conflict management out of the hands of ordinary people. Sometimes achieving Justice is as simple as listening until the victim feels heard. Increasingly, the formal legal system has taken responsibility for conflict management out of the hands of ordinary people.  The restorative justice movement is […]

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Survival on Urban Mean Streets at Odds with School Success

Published by – Since 6th grade, she’s been a hair-trigger fighter, as Dad taught her.  But one day early this spring she realized she’d better get with the program. Kaitlyn finds herself in a weird fight with her dad — her beloved dad, I might add.  “I respect him so much.”  But she’s torn between two […]

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Restorative Conferencing Changes Rotten Behavior

Published by — No one wants kids to be arrested.  But equally horrible is just letting the matter go.  Conferencing offers a third option. The mom and her 15-year-old son are so palpably nervous you can almost see anxiety ions in the air.  He’s committed a seriously foolish act.  He and Mom want to […]

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Colorado Cuts School Exclusions, Racial Disparities Persist

Published by – Suspensions are a lazy, useless way to deal with poor social skills. Last year in Colorado, a group called Padres Y Jovenes Unidos (Parents and Youth United) managed to get their Legislature to pass the “Smart School Discipline Law.”  Now schools must, by law, use “restorative justice or other disciplinary policies before resorting […]

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What Is International Restorative Justice Week?

Published by — The U.S. is lagging the developed world on this issue. Internationally, the Restorative Justice community set aside November 17-24 to celebrate the power of Restoration.  Of the many sites offering resources on this topic, I recommend Canada’s, for a start. But what is Restorative Justice? Well, crudely, it’s an alternative to the justice […]

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If Only Congress Could Get a Divorce.

Published by – If you want healthy harmony, model the behavior you want to see. “Americans assume that good relationships are about harmony. They are not. On the contrary, good relations are those that handle strife well. Our task is to know and teach that every relationship involves conflict and resolving conflict.” – Donald Shriver, […]

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Bringing Kids In Trouble Back From The Brink

Published by – “I believe everyone deserves second chances, and not just college students with clean records.” Eight years ago, Elissa Bellinger was a happy freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She’d never been in trouble, and never expected she would be. But one night she and her roommates hit the bars and […]

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Kicking the Nasty Habit of Zero Tolerance

Published by — There’s no magic place where bad kids can go and get better at learning how to live well in their community. Just the phrase “zero tolerance” sounds un-American.  At least I would hope so. Originally, “zero tolerance” was the sound bite that get-tough politicians in the 1990s swore would be their […]

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Our Punitive Mindset Blinds us to Effective Discipline

Published by — President Obama’s Executive Order — White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans — deserves a good, hard look. Dear President Obama,Millions of us are encouraged by your demand that schools reduce suspensions for black males. No research shows that suspensions teach kids the social skills they need to keep them […]

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