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Restorative Justice and Compassionate Schools

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Fran Kuehn

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Restorative Justice and Compassionate Schools

Restorative Justice and Compassionate Schools

Adopting Restorative Justice and creating a Compassionate School requires a change in the lens through which we view student behavior.

The great benefit of this change is that schools as systems become more humane and safe places for all students.

Schools can become a sanctuary for young people, instead of an adversary.

Guiding Principles
Empathy is the antidote to shame

Empathy requires vulnerability

Vulnerability comes with a loss of control

Control is the antidote to anxiety

Our anxiety drives our need to control and reduces empathy - this creates shame.
Who does what
Must accept their own actions
Be willing to explore own emotions
Understand repercussions of their actions

Must be open to dialogue
Be willing to explore their own emotions
Be willing to find a reasonable and fair solution

Present to provide support
Be willing to forgive
Sincerely accept reparations

Must be impartial to all parties
Committed to achieving justice

The process
The perpetrator has already admitted some wrongdoing...

The facilitator begins by asking the participants:
What happened?
Who was affected?
What harm was done?
How do you think that made them feel?
What should be done to heal the harm?
Restorative Justice is harder than traditional student discipline.
It's less convenient
Requires lots of up-front time
Teaches skills. Solving problems is a developmental skill.
Models pro-social behavior.
Teaches empathy
It is natural for us to withdraw from someone
we are in conflict with. We become angry, are less engaged, invested in their well-being. The same is true for teachers and students.
"If there is no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other." Mother Teresa
28% of children have reported physical abuse
17% have shown signs of a mental illness
27% have had problems with drugs or alcohol

Trauma and chronic stress lead to hyperarousal, intrusion of disturbing thoughts and images, and a constriction of affect.

Over-activation of the Amygdala (flight or fight) keeps the brain in a hyper-aroused state.
It reduces the Hippocampus' ability to transfer memories from short-term to long-term.
It inhibits language processing and 'reading' of social situations.
It turns off higher-order planning and decision-making in the prefrontal cortex.

adverse childhood experiences study (2009)
Full transcript