IIRP president Ted Wachtel began the ceremony by answering the question he thought might be in the minds of audience members: What is restorative practices?
Every day in schools around the world, a young person misbehaves and is asked to leave class. He or she is punished, sometimes asked to leave school for a few days, and then comes back to class. But nothing is resolved; the same tension and conflict remains. This happens over and over.
There’s no evidence that punishment does anything but change behavior while someone in authority is looking, at best. But how do you get people to make changes inside themselves?
Restorative practices suggests that there might be something different we could do. We need to give people a chance to deal with the underlying issues, to talk to each other in a real way about what’s happened, how they’ve affected people, and what might be done to change what’s going to happen in the future, so there’s some level of resolution of the conflict.
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