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Restorative Justice: Two Examples from New Zealand Schools

Janice Wearmouth, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) British Journal of Special Education. 34(4): 196-203.

In this article Janice Wearmouth, formerly professor of education at the University of Wellington, New Zealand and now at Liverpool Hope University, Rawiri McKinney, an advocate for Rangatahi who has recently completed his Master of Education degree, and Ted Glynn, foundation professor of teacher education at the University of Waikato, discuss two examples of restorative justice in practice to illustrate how community norms and values can help to encourage more socially appropriate behaviour. Both examples come from a New Zealand Maori context and interventions undertaken with young men whose behaviour was of concern in school and in the local neighbourhood. The interventions operated through traditional Maori protocols to shift the focus away from individuals on to the whole community in order to focus on ‘putting things right’ between all those involved in the wrong doing. These examples show how the use of traditional community resolution processes was able to resolve tensions, make justice visible and re-establish harmonious relations between the individuals, the school and between members of the community. The use of restorative practices in schools is not straightforward, however. The authors of this article argue that it requires that schools do not own or completely control the process but are responsive to the local context and recognise the important sources of support that may be found in some of the families and local voluntary community groups within it for addressing problematic student behaviour.


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