Opinion
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor

Commentary ‘Parodies’ Restorative Justice

October 11, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The Commentary essay by Richard Ullman (“Zero-Tolerance-Policy Overcorrection,” Sept. 14, 2016) led me to empathize with the author’s obvious frustrations and concerns about disruptive behaviors. However, he clearly misunderstands restorative justice/restorative practices, and so he ends up giving readers a parody of the actual philosophy and practice of these useful and now globally recognized processes.

Ullman wants a “fix it” (his words) approach to behavior and he wants restorative practices to be “behavior management” schemes, but they are not. Nor are they supposed to replace consequences or punishments, where appropriate. Restorative practices have a well-researched basis in social and emotional human-behavior theory. They are focused on how best to bring consensus and resolution to the kinds of conflict that often are the root of unruly or disruptive behaviors in schools.

My best guess is that the author might be the bystander who has witnessed educators managing restorative practices poorly or without proper training. I can point him to many schools, including those I work with, that have very difficult socioeconomic contexts in which restorative practices have made a significant contribution to better climate and culture, which are, after all, the bedrocks on which we build learning.

Jon McGill

Academic Director

Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore, Md.

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2016 edition of Education Week as Commentary ‘Parodies’ Restorative Justice

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Stronger Together: Integrating Social and Emotional Supports in an Equity-Based MTSS
Decades of research have shown that when schools implement evidence-based social and emotional supports and programming, academic achievement increases. The impact of these supports – particularly for students of color, students from low-income communities, English
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says Bullying Dropped as Students Spent Less Time in In-Person Classes During Pandemic
Researchers based their findings on an analysis of internet searches on online and school-based harassment.
5 min read
Cyber bullying concept. Paper cut Woman head silhouette with bullying messages like disgusting, OMG!!, loser, hate, ugly, and stupid.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Interactive School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where
Education Week is tracking K-12 school shootings in 2022. See the number of incidents and where they occurred in our map and data table.
2 min read
Sign indicating school zone.
iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety Infographic School Shootings in 2021: 4 Takeaways, in Charts
In 2021, there were 34 school shootings that hurt or killed people, the most since 2018. Here's what we know about school shootings this year.
Illustration of a gun and a school in the background.
iStock/Getty collage
School Climate & Safety Opinion Assessing Shooting Threats Is a Matter of Life or Death. Why Aren't Experts Better at It?
To take the right actions before the next tragedy occurs, schools need all the help they can get, write three experts.
David Riedman, Jillian Peterson & James Densley
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of young person in crisis
iStock/Getty