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Are 98.6 Degrees Enough?: Reflections on Restorative Justice Training and Credentialing

Bussler, Darrol
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Special issue, “Fall 2003 Dispute Resolution Institute Symposium”, Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy. 25(2): 335-346.

While attending the 2003 Symposium, Moving to the Next Level, I was reminded of Mary Catherine Bateson’s statement cited in Calling the Circle: “Any place we stop to rest must also serve as the platform from which we leave.â€? I chose to attend the symposium to retreat from daily work responsibilities in order to reflect on my journey with restorative justice; the symposium served as a ‘place to rest.’ However, I was challenged to ‘move to the next level,’ and I did. Actually, I am in the process of moving to a new level that is a result of questions that emerged during the symposium. This article serves as a ‘platform’ to offer questions for consideration that may aid in moving restorative practice to a new level. The questions offered were primarily prompted by two
comments made at the symposium: the first, by Phil Bluehouse, a theme leader colleague, and the other, by a fellow circle participant later in the day. Phil’s opening comment was a challenge, and one that I respected: “I usually talk about my 98.6 degrees and that’s all I need,â€? inferring that the knowledge and skills he has developed in restorative practices are not the result of going to school or earning degrees. The other comment emerged in a subsequent conversation when a participant inquired about who can participate in circles. The response was, “We have no agendas; we are open; anyone can do this.â€? And then, the challenging comment: “We require eight hours of training.â€? My mind went into a whirlwind, and I posed questions I did not choose to utter: Why eight? Why not seven? Or eight and three-quarters? At that point, I retreated to my mind with
questions emerging that I could not answer. (excerpt)


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