For those of you who might be reading this with a healthy degree of skepticism I can tell you that I was able to use restorative justice principles in a very practical way days after Alana & Teresa visited the school. Four IPS students had crossed the boundaries of acceptable behaviour when playing a spirited tag-like game in PE. There was some name calling and pushing involved in the heat of the moment and one student felt especially picked-on by the others. Engaging the students in a restorative justice â€œcircle of accountabilityâ€ discussion meant asking each student involved in the incident the following questions: (1) What happened?; (2) What were you thinking an feeling at the time?; (3) What have you been thinking and feeling since?; (4) Who else has been affected?; (5) What needs to happen to put things right; and (6) What have you learned or what could you do differently in the future?
In responding to these scripted questions I was surprised by the level of engagement each student brought to reflecting on a 30-second incident thatâ€”not 10-minutes earlierâ€”had been the root of unbridled, emotional, in-the-moment conflict between them. It was really quite remarkable, but it came at a cost. To debrief the incident through a restorative justice lens took over an hour.
It was time worth spent, however, because what came out of the exercise came an opportunity for students to develop a level of emotional literacy and self-awareness that wouldnâ€™t have occurred otherwise.
Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.Donate Now