Source: (2004) Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 14: 332-344.

During the decade to 1999 in New Zealand, schools experienced more than doubling of the rates of suspension and exclusion. The higher suspension rates of Maori, males and in low decile schools were of particular concern. The Ministry of Education enacted a variety of responses to this situation, including encouraging the use of restorative conferencing in schools. This article builds on learning from the Restorative Conferencing in Schools Trial and shows how the process of a conversation can be productive of more and less peaceable relationships. It is argued that school communities are uniquely placed in civic life, and that it is worthwhile considering restorative conferencing and restorative practices more generally in relation to their behaviour management and disciplinary functions. Restorative practices are advanced from a social constructionist position, which is a very different philosophy from the philosophy of punishment and judgement that dominates in many schools. Author's abstract.