Source: (2011) Today's parent. 29(6): 146.

So why am I so uneasy about restorative circles? It's mainly because I've seen so many good ideas go awry. For teaching literacy, whole language was a useful approach that got a bad name because it was never really carried out properly, and certain ideologues thought whole language meant suppressing phonics (wrong!). Self-esteem became all but a dirty word because many of its cheerleaders didn't understand what self-esteem really is or how it develops. (Hint: It doesn't come from telling kids everything they do is great!) [Mark Totten] does not recommend one-off restorative circles when there's true bullying (not minor teasing or bugging). "In cases of ongoing victimization, it's crucial that schools do a proper intake (assessment of the situation beforehand), and then provide follow-up support for both the bully and victim. Otherwise, there's a very real risk of increased harm to the victim," he says. (excerpt)