Source: (2012) Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Human Rights. 2-7 June 2012, Skopelos Island, Greece.

South Africa is not unfamiliar to the concept of violence. Violence has infiltrated our communities, schools, households and even sporting events. In South Africa, a retributive and punitive approach is usually adopted when dealing with misbehaviour in schools. Despite the abolition of corporal punishment in 1996, more than 50% of schools still administer it. Punitive methods take the form of expulsions, suspensions and detention. Restorative justice can be examined as a possible solution to protect, promote and restore the right to dignity of the victims of misbehaviour in schools (the importance of acknowledging dignity is also embedded in the South African Constitution).A case study will be used as an example to illustrate how the principles of restorative justice can be applied during conflict resolution or victim offender mediation in South African schools. Even though restorative justice is a time-consuming process at first, in the long run a restorative culture can evolve in schools that can be to the benefit of the school community as a whole. (author's abstract)