Elevating Justice: Widening the Circle

In June, NICE staff had the opportunity to attend the 2019 National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) Conference in Denver, Colorado.

The 7th NACRJ Conference, Elevating Justice: Widening the Circle, focused on a broader sense of justice that includes more voices of minorities and from groups all around the world, and encompasses how dignity and respect for one another allows for peaceful society.

In a series of blogs, we’ll be sharing our biggest takeaways from some of the sessions we attended, hoping to spark further discussion and raise awareness of some amazing findings.

Implementing Restorative Practices School Wide: Lessons Learned through Practice and Collaboration

Panelists discussed a Kansas City, MO high school, at which two former teachers built a Restorative Justice Department from the ground up, and presented a framework for organizing and implementing school-wide plans.

The NACRJ has created a guide for implementing restorative justice programs in schools in response to widely acknowledged data showing that punitive disciplinary approaches are frequently unsuccessful and often counterproductive—as well as data that punitive disciplinary approaches disproportionately impact students by race, ethnicity, and gender.

The NACRJ highlights a three-tier intervention pyramid, which emphasizes the importance of restorative justice practices being universally woven into school life. It also describes a spectrum of restorative practices, from informal aspects of school culture, to formal interventions when dealing with conflicts of higher intensity.

The NACRJ seeks to raise awareness of these restorative practices, among educators and policy makers. They call on all educational bodies to strengthen relationships within the school community, allow for increased student-governance, and foster a more positive school-wide climate through the outlined restorative practices.

Read the NACRJ’s entire policy statement, complete with step-by-step implementation guidelines, here.