Is your school using restorative justice or do you want to get started? Join the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook and chat with other teachers about your experience. On their own initiative, teachers can use certain aspects of the restorative justice system in their classrooms. Respect agreements are a good place to start and give students a part in the success of the classroom. Teachers who wish to implement sharing or mediation circles for misconduct should spend time learning more about the process (see resources below). Statistics show that the use of restorative practices keeps children in school. Criminal justice systems often remove students from the classroom, even in the case of minor infractions. With restorative justice, everyone works together to keep children in the classroom where they can learn. Children expelled from school often end up in what education reform activists call the “school-prison pipeline.” Restorative justice wants to stop this cycle and keep children on track in their education. In the first stage, everything revolves around building communities as a preventive measure.
Teachers or peer facilitators guide students through sharing circles where children open up about their fears and goals. “The circles are based on Indigenous practices that value inclusion, respect, managing things as a community and supporting healing,” says Yurem. “Children really resonate with this process. I`ve seen children share things that surprised me extremely, like partly 4th year boys talking about what scares them.