Source: (2012) Journal of School Violence. 11(2):138-155.

In the ongoing effort of designing school contexts in support of proactive discipline, a range of practices and theoretical frameworks have been advanced, from behaviorist approaches to social and emotional learning. This article describes the theory and practice of restorative justice with the aim of defining this distinctive paradigm, in comparison to other forms of discipline, as one that uniquely emphasizes social engagement over social control. In so doing, a responsive regulatory framework supports pedagogy, praxis, and discipline such that relational school cultures are nurtured; wherein, behavior is understood in social context, individuals are recognized as being part of a social web of relations, and building, maintaining, and repairing relationships become priorities. This focus on developing rich and embedded relational ecologies finds its strength through nurturing motivational bonds of belonging that support individual development and social responsibility. This is distinct from formal institutional responses that rely on systems of institutional sanctions to leverage compliance. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,