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Restorative justice practices will help us get at the roots

December 12, 2009

If we want these Asian-American students and their peers to be able to
attend a school that is safe for them, then we must get to the heart of
what true school safety looks like.

A part of school safety is
found in holding people accountable for their violent actions, and we
can see that the District is taking steps toward this.

we at TAG believe that relying solely on punitive interventions — like
enhanced policing, suspensions, and arrests — only serves to further
criminalize students and lock violent behavior into place. This doesn’t
resolve the fundamental issues at the heart of conflict.

we believe that we need to show students that because we care about
them and their development, we will provide them a path down which to
move forward, to find individual transformation and community healing
through the basics of talking and listening, learning about each other,
validating one another’s experiences.

We would like to
see the School District establish Restorative Justice Practices to move
toward healing in this specific situation of violence, and to get
students and faculty at South Philadelphia HS dialoging about race and
ethnicity, to explore differences and find points of convergence.

would like to see resources committed by the District to have
professional conflict mediation and prevention programs instituted at
South Philadelphia HS, like the programs offered by the International
Institute for Restorative Practices that are being used at West
Philadelphia HS.

We would like to see the infrastructure
provided for the faculty, administration, and student body of South
Philadelphia HS to commit themselves to this type of school community
transformation, including school-wide training, flexibility in the
schedule for community circles, and curriculum for meaningful
multicultural understanding.

And, ultimately, we would like to see these practices instituted in every school in the District.

Read the whole entry.


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