Source: (2006) Paper from "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities, Part 2," the IIRP’s 8th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, October 18-20, 2006, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA.

Because I believe, like Wachtel and others, that restorative justice holds potential for transforming educational environments, the purpose of my paper is to explore this gap in understanding and perhaps come a step closer to finding an answer to ‘why’. In so doing, there is a greater hope that restorative justice will become a way of life rather than a model or a series of strategies that stay inside the classroom or courtroom. I will begin by describing restorative justice principles and how they are being implemented in schools through the broader emerging field of restorative practices. Then by examining the roots of Zehr and Wachtel’s ideas I hope to identify among other things the worldview/view of the person that has influenced the models they have developed. From here I ask a series of critical questions that will lead into an exploration of my own ideas, illuminated by the work of Freire (1970) and hooks (2003), as I attempt to answer the question “why is restorative practice effective in educational institutions?” Though I do not expect to uncover what has puzzled many for several decades, I do consider that my grappling is an early step to further research I hope to carry out regarding the successful implementation of restorative justice principles in elementary and high schools. (excerpt)