Restorative justice asks “after a harm is committed, how do you repair the harm that has been done by bringing all parties into a conversation,” says Amy Chou, project officer for a restorative-justice pilot program launched by the Brooklyn Community Foundation at two high schools and a middle school.
More broadly, Chou says restorative justice also encompasses “the way that teachers interact with students in their classroom. It’s the way that schools interact with parents. It’s about shifting the way schools fundamentally think about punishment and discipline, from a way that is punitive to another approach where you honor the dignity and sovereignty of students.”
Schools involved in the Community Foundation pilot saw a 53 percent reduction in the number of suspensions over three years when compared to the three years preceding the program, said Dr. Gregory, who was in the midst of compiling a report detailing the pilot’s results for the foundation when she spoke to The Indy. Based on student surveys, there was also “documented progress in creating more equitable school climates,” she added.