by Alan Delery
In my last post, I stated that I would be doing a summer series on Restorative Approaches. For today’s post, I’ve decided to share some of the work that I have done in schools around restorative approaches. I think this is particularly important, as schools are on summer break and have a chance to regroup and plan for next year.
We are all aware of the challenges that our community has in raising resilient and caring young people. We have all been through a stressful year and as we begin to emerge from the height of a pandemic, we have to consider our social and mental health needs, including those of the youth who are at a particularly sensitive developmental stage.
How we handle them will determine the health and safety of our community. I have been involved in bringing restorative interventions in schools for nearly a decade and believe we are in a pivotal stage in how we handle school and community discipline.
As stated in one Annie E. Casey Foundation report, “Restorative justice provides an effective way to address wrongdoing and do right by the people harmed. It offers non punitive opportunities outside of the juvenile justice system for young people to take accountability for harm they have caused. It acknowledges that legal proceedings can be difficult and unproductive for those harmed, those responsible for the harm, their families and other community members.”
In early 2020, I had an opportunity to be interviewed by a representative with Policy Research Analyst funded by National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice. They included my interview in a Virtual Toolbox that I would like to share with you.
The following link includes a podcast and a video of two interviews with me talking about the implementation of Restorative Approaches in schools, as a part of a School Responder Model.
I encourage you to listen to these interviews and consider the value of implementing restorative approaches in schools and throughout the community.
As we consider what justice looks like I’d like to close with one final quote:
“Restorative justice represents a complete paradigm shift from viewing harm as a violation of the law to understanding it as a violation of people and relationships that requires accountability and healing,” says Ashlee George, associate director of Impact Justice’s Restorative Justice Project. “This approach gives all communities, especially marginalized ones, a powerful tool to replace the criminalization of youth of color.”
My prayer is that our community would seek to ensure the safety of all of its citizens in a caring and supportive way.