The formation of a student’s character is all part of a good education. At the same time, character formation is also essential to helping students not repeat negative behaviors. To that end, restorative practices within school settings can help create a better culture of respect and responsibility. What it boils down to is that every difficult situation, rather than being an obstacle to education, can become an opportunity for a specific kind of education that teaches youth how to have empathy and regard for others.
All children are wired to LEARN and to be in RELATIONSHIPS. These two areas are central to restorative models that bring people together for resolution processes, and promote a deep learning experience from new things said and heard. It may take a little more time to intentionally have conversations where adults talk WITH youth more than talk TO youth, but the payoff is usually worth it. Restorative conversations, be them short and informal or planned and formal, all amount to opportunities where ‘ah-ha’ type learning can happen, and relationships of trust get strengthened.
BCRJP provides trainings for school staff in all districts in Barron County so that schools have the tools they need for restorative responses that lead to effective discipline. In the same way a teacher hands over a case to a principal when it is too serious, too emotional or too complex, BCRJP is there as a safety net to all schools for cases that are too intense or complex for what a principal can handle, usually due to limited time. In this way, BCRJP is team player in the effort of providing a good ‘education’ for students and parents served by us.
Can kid’s change?
Ultimately, the hope is to keep a student in school rather than out of school, but specifically, to redirect that student so that he or she is actively taking part in personal improvements. Rather than matching a negative act with a negative consequence (and have a student return unchanged), the best kind of accountability matches a negative act with a positive plan of reparation and personal improvements that can be tracked for a specific period of time. That can be a real education, and chances are, a new relationship will likely rise out of the interaction where support and accountability go hand-in-hand.