Tuesday, 09 November 2021 17:29

Restorative Justice and Meetings at The Antioch School: Finding ways to be peaceful together

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
There are a lot of current news pieces, debates, ballot initiatives, activist movements etc. in the grown-up world concerning the criminal justice system and law enforcement. It feels like the need for restorative justice has never been greater, so it is naturally very exciting and rewarding to be part of a community that actively practices a model of restorative justice for children and adults. What is restorative justice? In short, it is a process by which stakeholders in a conflict may work together to state their needs and boundaries, and ultimately find peace. A stakeholder who is a victim in the situation may find information from the process, tell their truth to the offender, have a chance to feel empowered, or receive a sense of vindication or restitution. From the process, a stakeholder who is an offender may receive accountability, encouragement to make personal improvements and heal from past hurts that led to their harmful behavior, encouragement to reintegrate into a community, and in some cases, temporary restraint. For more information, check out this free E-book: The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr and Ali Gohar: https://sites.unicef.org/tdad/littlebookrjpakaf.pdf This practice is very different from the crime and punishment models society currently uses, and is a response that seeks to address the human needs that are neglected in the punitive carceral justice system. You can see this system we have for adults mirrored in many schools, where discipline is handed down from school authorities, fear of punishment acts as a deterrent, dehumanizing labels like "bully" are attached to young people, and people who are harmed are left feeling disempowered when their only recourse for justice is to report their discomfort to a school authority. As with the criminal justice system for adults, the human needs of the children in disciplinary systems such as these might not be met appropriately. The model of restorative justice we use at The Antioch School is called a meeting. Children who feel wronged may call a meeting with the offending stakeholder. The meeting caller states the harm that was done; they may say how something made them feel. The meeting caller also says what they expect from the offender and how they can make things right. The offender has a turn to respond to the meeting caller's needs and expectations for the future. Once all the stakeholders have come to an understanding, the meeting is concluded. When needed, teachers act as moderators, holding children accountable to the form and process. Learning this practice can be hard, but it has far reaching, positive implications for the children at school as they grow up.
Read 44 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 November 2021 18:56
More in this category: « Barefoot at School

Quick Contact

If you have questions, would like more information about the Antioch School, please use the form below or call  9 3 7 . 7 6 7 . 7 6 4 2.   Our address is 1160 Corry Street, P.O.Box 242, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.