New Report Highlights Implementation Lessons from Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project
Restorative approaches to conflict have a long history rooted in cultural healing of indigenous communities. Yet, the use of restorative approaches to building community and repairing harm is relatively new in U.S. schools. Educators across the nation have many unanswered questions about best practices for introducing restorative justice (RJ) to their communities, building sustained engagement with school discipline reform, and eradicating disparities in exclusionary school discipline.
RJ coordinators and practitioners from Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project have many insights to share. Last school year, with funding from the Foundation, staff from Partnership with Children, Sweet River Consulting, New York Peace Institute, and Good Shepard Services implemented RJ in four Brooklyn schools.
My recently released report, Implementing Restorative Justice in Schools: Lessons Learned from Restorative Justice Practitioners in Four Brooklyn Schools, highlights insights from interviews with RJ practitioners in these Brooklyn schools and addresses questions such as:
- What is a comprehensive vision of RJ with a racial and social justice lens?
- To what degree is community-wide engagement needed?
- What should be prioritized for schools just starting out using RJ?
- What steps are needed to build capacity for long term sustainability?
Their collective response to these questions can offer guidance and inspiration to schools and districts launching their journey to transform their school communities.
The inquiry into how RJ coordinators and practitioners “make meaning” of their experiences in the schools is one aspect of the ongoing RJ program evaluation, supported by Brooklyn Community Foundation. Over the next three years, I am documenting RJ implementation efforts, school climate shifts, perceptions of racial and social justice, and disciplinary practices in each of the four schools.
I hope you’ll take a few moments to read the new report and continue to follow the progress and findings of the Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project over the coming months and years.