Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease

Published by — Sometimes these students get a chance to  shake off the ‘bad kid’ self-image.  Too often not. Naturally, Faina Davis, a lawyer and head of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), would have a happy-ish story about what happens when troubled kids connect with adults who practice Restorative Justice.  Far more often, kidsContinue reading “Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease”

Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children

Published by — The kindest response to unwanted behavior is to ask good questions. The trim, tall elementary teacher, whom we’ll call Ms. Larch, paused before answering the question that had been posed to everyone in the circle.  Larch was among a group of teachers from all levels in a Restorative Practices (RP) training.  RP, inContinue reading “Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children”

Winning the Discipline Wars Takes Restoration

Published by — Kicking the kid out doesn’t really hold the kid accountable or teach him how to behave. In Fordham Institute’s weekly Flypaper blog, David Griffith offers a tantalizing hope in a piece called “How to end the discipline wars.”  He asks, “Is there a more annoying manifestation of our political and culturalContinue reading “Winning the Discipline Wars Takes Restoration”

Online Interactions Are Cultivating Anti-Social Boys

Published by — How do we help a kid whose social life is mainly with his screens? The boy shrugs off a question for maybe the 10th time that afternoon.  He seems incapable of simple human interaction.  Mom tries to talk for him as he wriggles and writhes at the table in her impeccable kitchen.  No, she’sContinue reading “Online Interactions Are Cultivating Anti-Social Boys”

At Last! A Review of Research on Restorative Justice In Schools

Published by — Early studies of RJ programs in the US show their impact in reducing suspensions and harmful behavior. Local Restorative Practices/Restorative Justice (RP/RJ) initiatives have been starving for research on America’s efforts to implement programs.  The large body of evidence showing the ineffectiveness of punishment doesn’t seem to make an adequately compelling argument for supporting Restoration.  AndContinue reading “At Last! A Review of Research on Restorative Justice In Schools”

Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing

Published by — When a student knows what she wants, it’s a lot easier to help her get through trouble. The lovely Roxanna, as we’ll call her, sighed heavily as she joined a circle that included a school administrator, two conference facilitators and her very pissed-off dad.  The teacher who had promised to make it couldContinue reading “Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing”

School Suspensions Model the Wrong Behavior for Students

Published by — By our actions, we teach intolerance. Last week we looked at reasons why kids misbehave — how sometimes they can’t or they won’t act in community-appropriate ways.  Whether it’s a choice for them or not, it’s always a big pain for the people around them. So this week we’ll look at theContinue reading “School Suspensions Model the Wrong Behavior for Students”

Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids

Published by — Kicking out the disruptive kids is convenient.  But what do we, or they, learn from it? Allow me to say right off the top that I believe each out-of-school suspension is a symptom of a mental or social issue.  I’d call them symptoms of disease, but some are more like sniffles. InContinue reading “Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids”

What If South Carolina’s Body-Slammed Teen Had Been Treated Restoratively?

Published by — There may be no good excuse for disrupting class, but a punitive response can just exacerbate the problem. Restorative practices are simple tools for handling conflict in ways that maximize the possibility of a happy ending.  The practices are habits of the mind and heart.  So let’s revisit last October’s nasty incident atContinue reading “What If South Carolina’s Body-Slammed Teen Had Been Treated Restoratively?”

New Year’s Resolution: Take the Time to Restore Kids’ Lives

Published by — Do we leave problems to fester, or do we put in the effort, unpack the problem and come up with answers? A few years ago a kid we’ll call Leon transferred from a big urban district to the small, even poorer district where I consult on restorative practices.  As a 7th grader, Leon was smallContinue reading “New Year’s Resolution: Take the Time to Restore Kids’ Lives”