Restorative Justice offers a fresh perspective for conflict resolution March 7, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH (March 7, 2017) – For schools looking for an alternative approach to student misconduct, restorative justice provides a solution.

In most student misconduct scenarios, the offender is suspended or expelled without accepting responsibility for his or her actions. The victim never receives acknowledgement of the harm. Moreover, the underlying issue contributing to the misconduct is never addressed and the accused fails to develop insight about the significance of the harm. Failure to respond to this considerations leads to further dissatisfaction for those involved and can even cause repeat offenses in the future.

Restorative justice seeks to improve upon the traditional methods of student discipline by conducting an intervention that focuses on understanding the harm caused, how to repair it and how to prevent its reoccurrence. In so doing, the injured party can heal, the offender is held accountable for his or her actions and the community becomes a safer place.

A restorative justice session includes significant preparation by co-facilitators and utilizes differing processes depending on the situation. The process implemented is determined based on the situation at hand. Restorative justice can be applied to a variety of student misconduct cases such as sexual offenses, drug and alcohol abuse, plagiarism, vandalism, discriminatory harassment, bullying, hazing, social media related offenses and school violence.

While restorative justice is similar to mediation, the process, its boundaries and the end goal differ. Unlike mediation, restorative justice does not allow for victim blaming or non-admission of guilt. Moreover, strict guidelines are established to ensure that all participants have an equal opportunity to be heard. Co-facilitators are used to maintain the dignity and integrity of the process.

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