Restorative Justice is an alternative to zero-tolerance policies that constitute suspension or expulsion and gives students the opportunity to bring their issues to the table for mediation.
“Restorative Justice allows students to take ownership of positive behavior by shifting the responsibility of creating a different culture in schools away from just adults to incorporating students as well,” said Nikolai P. Vitti, Assistant Superintendent MDCPS. “It will change the culture of how we think through student behavior and discipline.”
Power U Center for Social Change a grassroots organization has been nudging MDCPS to implement Restorative Justice for some time now and is glad that Vitti agrees that something needs to be done to give kids who encounter behavior problems at school a second chance.
“We’ve been requesting Restorative Justice to be implemented in our schools for a while so we’re really excited about this groundbreaking move,” said Julia Daniel, youth coordinator for Power U. “Restorative Justice is important because through the process youth develop the skills they need to resolve their conflicts and look at the root causes of issues they are facing.”
Power U has accused the MDCPS of being a “school-to-prison pipeline” because so many Black and Latino students get suspended, expelled and end up in the criminal and/or juvenile justice system.