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Restorative Practices in Schools 

Restorative Practices in Schools

The Burlington CJC collaborates with the Burlington School District to support a whole-district implementation of Restorative Practices. This work is guided by the following principles:

  • Acknowledges that relationships are central

  • Ensures equity of voice

  • Emphasizes actions “with,” not “to” or “for”

  • Enhances accountability, responsibility, and empowers growth

  • Supports active engagement and collaborative problem solving

  • Repairs the harm, rather than focusing on punishment.

 

When things go wrong on campus, we require a paradigm shift in our response:

Traditional Response 

  • School and rules violated

  • Justice focuses on establishing guilt

  • Accountability is punishment

  • Driven by wrongdoer, affected party ignored

  • Rules and intent outweigh whether outcome is positive or negative for parties involved

Restorative Response

  • People and relationships violated

  • Justice identifies needs and obligations

  • Accountability is repairing harm

  • All directly-involved parties have a role

  • Wrongdoer is responsible for choices, repairing harm, and working towards a positive outcome

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The BCJC provides Restorative Practice (RP) trainings for staff and faculty and participates on their RP implementation teams. One recent collaboration is our partnership with Burlington High School in identifying and training student leaders who can volunteer on Restorative Justice Youth Panels at the school. This is a great way to increase student voice, learn restorative skills, and give other students a second chance. Students also receive community service hours for any training or service they complete through the BCJC. Additionally, they are included in a pool of volunteers to respond to incidents on campus throughout the year. These panels will take place after school during the year and are an alternative to suspensions.

 

For more information about our Youth Services, please contact Kelly Ahrens, Youth Restorative Programs Manager at (802)865-7169 or kahrens@burlingtonvt.gov

Social Discipline Window 

adapted by Paul McCold & Ted Wachtel