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Restorative Discipline
Old 06-19-2018, 06:27 PM
 
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How many of you teach in schools that practice restorative discipline? It has not been a positive experience for our staff. It has turned our once quiet building into a behavior nightmare. Kids know that they will just discuss their behavior (at most) and then head straight back to the room. Kids who get into fights are not even missing their next recess. Disrespect and rude behavior is rampant. Whatever happened to the idea that actions have consequences? Our admin thinks the restorative discipline is great and seems to ignore the terrible behavior.



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Old 06-19-2018, 06:49 PM
 
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This!



Agree with you completely. Heaven forbid anyone is actually responsible for their behaviors any more or suffer consequences.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:54 PM
 
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Call the Enabled Kids hotline and listen to their whining from jails across America. This bandwagon is hitting our school next year and thank goodness teachers still have the Ed code right to suspend from the classroom.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:58 PM
 
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Restorative justice in prisons works, there is no doubt about the data on it...however that means learning about our behavior in addition to punishment, not instead of punishment.

I think that is the flaw of a lot if restorative discipline programs. Restorative learning should be in conjunction with punishments not in lieu of punishment for large behaviors or habitual behaviors. It might be enough alone for that good kids who cries when they get a talking to but that's not most kids nowadays
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Restorative Practices
Old 06-19-2018, 07:03 PM
 
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Restorative Practices in schools can be great... but seldom are.

The reason? If you actually study the theory and observe the model in Bethlehem, PA (or elsewhere where it is being used successfully), you discover that authentically Restorative schools are actually tougher on discipline than traditional schools. Each school sets its "Cardinal Rules" with student input. Any student who violates one of the "Cardinal Rules" has damaged his or her relationship with the community, violated the community's social contract, and so is gone. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Gone.

The student who is shown the door, assuming he or she does not pose an ongoing risk to the students and staff of the school, is given a set of conditions on which he or she may return to the community. If these terms are acceptable to both parties, the student may start to repair the relationship(s) that were damaged by the behavior.

In some cases, students asked to leave are gone for a day. In some cases, they cannot meet the terms of the community's contract, and so may be gone for a year or forever. Expulsion, while not common in Restorative schools, is not unheard of or even unusual.

It works. Generally, the model works when everyone buys in. It's a contract, and everyone plays a role.

The model is not a "cafeteria" model. You can't take what you want from it and leave the rest. It's all or nothing. The problem with public schools trying to adopt Restorative Practices is that they won't follow through on the expulsion bit. "Ooooh... we like the circles and the sharing and Cardinal Rules, but we can't expel a student who violates them. The superintendent would never allow that." Well, then you don't have Restorative Practices.

Too many schools try to bill themselves as Restorative schools, but it doesn't work if you only take a few of the tips from Page 17, the community contract from Page 35, and discard everything else or make it up as you go along. Or try out a few techniques but carry on running the bureaucracy of discipline (generally "catch and release" in today's American public schools) the way you always have and then wonder why it's not working and your building's morale is lower rather than higher.

First and foremost, you really can't have Restorative Practices in a building where education is compulsory. It's a square peg and a round hole. By definition, a large part of your population will not buy into the model because they are forced to be there even when they don't want to be. The model only works with 100% buy in. That alone should tell you why it's a bad idea when admins in public schools claim they are building a "restorative discipline" school.

I can dress up my family room and call it The Astrodome, but that doesn't mean the Houston Astros are going to show up for batting practice.


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Old 06-19-2018, 07:06 PM
 
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Yep, we've been doing this for several years. Behavior in my building is out of control. We got a new principal this past year who thought she could "fix it" with guess what- all the stuff we've already tried. Even she was going nuts at the end of the year because behavior was so bad.

We've tried:
-Restorative practices
-PBIS
-"Plan B" conversations (from Ross Greene "Lost at School"), basically asking the student to come up with their own behavior plan
-Trauma Informed instruction/trauma informed care
-Check in/check out
-Lunch bunch groups with social/emotional focus with counselors
-Why Try curriculum
-PATHS curriculum
-Caring School Communities curriculum
-Multiple individual point sheets/behavior plans

My current admin and my previous admin (we got new admin this past school year) constantly said, "Research shows consequences don't work." Well, I feel like at this point the one thing we haven't tried is actually implementing strict consequences for behavior. I agree that for the very small number of children that truly have emotional disabilities, consequences aren't going to work. I don't buy that they won't work for at least 90% of our behavior issues. Why can't we just try it? We've tried everything else!

My new P also brought in some of the behavior strategies from Teach Like a Champion this year, such as "no opt out" and "SLANT." We all said, sounds great, but how do we enforce this if there is no consequence attached? Principal just said, "You have to just make them do it." I did some research on the string of charter schools that the book is based on, Uncommon Schools.

They have an extremely rigorous consequences system, which includes giving "demerits" for every tiny infraction, including not sitting up in class. Once a student earns a specific amount of demerits, they attend Saturday school and pay something like $180 for the privilege of doing so (which is how they're filtering behavior issues out of their schools, but that's another soapbox). Yet we are expected to get the same results with absolutely 0 consequences for any behavior .
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:20 PM
 
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We’ve had good success with it but I think we are doing it correctly and we’ll. We impose consequences along with restorative practices. Some teachers still want greater “punishments” but overall things are going well. I’ve noticed the teachers into punishment are always the ones with the most behavior issues.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:06 AM
 
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Sounds to me that your school is practicing Restorative Justice like many schools practice PBIS. They use the buzz word but don't actually put the real theory into proper practice.

Restorative justice isn't just talking. There is so much more to it. It requires work on the part of the student. It really is counseling and activity on the part of the person inflicting "injury" or "injustice" to others.

The biggest problem with schools is that the implement programs when they don't really understand them or they don't get buy and and administration either won't or can't depending on the district require employees implement things properly.
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Angelo nailed it.
Old 06-20-2018, 04:23 AM
 
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When implemented absent any consequence for behavior, it's a disaster, the proverbial pig with lipstick.

We have had teachers leave the school because of the rampant misbehaviors engendered by improperly implementing restorative justice and trauma informed teaching. Many have expressed that our school culture and atmosphere have been ruined.

Students say that it's okay to get in trouble because they just talk to you and send you back. We even had a student who punched another in the face be escorted back to an activity where parents were present by the principal. We have had administrators say, "I just had a 'restorative' (really?? can't even use the terms correctly?) with them, and it's all fine now."

One thing I have never seen written about is the issue of defiance or disrespect toward the teacher. Our experience has been that there is NEVER an attempt made to "restore" the relationship with the teacher. We are expected to just accept the behavior.

Finally, I have huge problems with the idea that the person who was victimized is expected to meet with and talk to the perpetrator. Some may think that victim and perpetrator are extreme terms when writing about students in school, but restorative meetings at our school have risen to this level.
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This is a common complaint
Old 06-20-2018, 06:31 AM
 
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Among those of whose positions in education force us to be reality-based (i.e. those of us who actually interact with kids and try to get work out of them).

Although I don't think administrators or academics actually believe what they say about this stuff working, if we take them at their words, it's a perfect example of how an advanced degree can actually make a person dumber. Anybody with any sense at all can tell you that kids are going to look at restorative systems alone and just think, "We never get in trouble for anything," which just emboldens kids and leads to an escalation of their antisocial behavior.

Not that social science research can be taken seriously as "science" at all, but I'm sure the research that concludes, "consequences don't work," is just thinly veiled political ideology. Most of it probably holds a traditional system of consequences and punishments to a much higher standard than a "do-nothing" approach. If a traditional system isn't 100% effective, then it's labeled ineffective. If the SJW approach has even the slightest impact on a single person, its effectiveness is highly praised.

As others have said, restorative practices and punishments can coexist, but a system of consequences is absolutely necessary in the real world. It's human nature: those people whose behavior can be influenced, respond to negative consequences.

A traditional system of punishments doesn't work for most kids. It might only work for 30 or 40 percent at best, but that's much better than 0 percent that the do-nothing approach influences. In fact, I've see the do-nothing approach effectively be a net negative: kids who would be deterred by the fear of consequences act out because they're influenced by kids who are emboldened by the zero-consequences environment. At the very least, a traditional approach establishes boundaries (which, let's face it, a lot of these kids don't have at home) and gets the most disruptive kids out of school for a little while to allow kids who actually care about school to receive some instruction. Is that perfect? Of course not. Is it the only realistic tool we have at our disposal? Yes.

An earlier poster mentioned their administrator saying something to the effect of "you just have to make kids do these things." This is typical administrators nonsense. Most of them get into administration so they can hide behind impossible expectations and pile them on others while bearing no responsibility to be able to do the things they tell their subordinates to do, despite ostensibly being more capable in theory (since they are in a leadership position).

This zero-consequences approach is seriously the most corrosive element in American education, IMO. It's enabling kids and setting them up for failure.



Last edited by Surly; 06-20-2018 at 11:05 AM..
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Nailed it!
Old 06-20-2018, 11:45 AM
 
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Thank you for reinforcing what I view as a very dysfunctional way to teach a child discipline. Discipline is vastly different than punishment, and I believe that many admins get hung up on that idea. Of course we hope to teach the correct behavior, but children must learn that actions have consequences in the "real world."

An example...I had a student this past year who is a major behavior issue in the classroom. (Fighting, screaming/cursing at teachers, major classroom disruptions, etc.) During one field trip (that the P made me take him on), this boy hurt another student and that student ended up in the ICU at the hospital. After the incident on the field trip, I called his parent and said for them to meet us at the field trip location and come pick him up. His "consequence" was to talk with the AP about his actions--he had no remorse. The other chaperones were incensed that he wasn't suspended or at least ISS for several days. Nope, he was back in class the next day with us while the other student was still in the hospital recuperating! Good grief!

This was the most severe issue that I had this year, but other major issues were treated the same way. Students who got in fights repeatedly kept getting into fights. Same for disrespect. It's gotten so that the staff doesn't write up students because they know nothing will happen, which makes our job even more difficult. The P was actually bragging the last month of school that referrals were down.

Rant over...
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no suspensions admin brag
Old 06-21-2018, 06:29 AM
 
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time4fun, you are so right that administrators want to brag that they have no suspensions.

They don't see the other students' reactions to the continued presence of the aggressive or violent students. After recent years with with this approach, I'm so concerned for our school and children. When a larger than average 7th or 8th grader does what he or she got away with in school out in public, s/he will be dealing with the police. There is no restorative justice circle there.

I have seen other schools in our area, even ones where the admin is brought in to speak to staff about the wonders of restorative justice and trauma informed teaching, have a complete disconnect between the "no suspensions" brag and angry community posts on social media.

It's a big problem to deal with a school's image on social media, and I think schools are making some bad decisions in response.

Last edited by Singvogel; 06-21-2018 at 06:30 AM.. Reason: typo
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The "referrals are down" lie is commonplace
Old 06-21-2018, 07:00 AM
 
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I've seen it in a lot of districts around me, including my own for a time. It's so infuriating because I know kids are basically the same everywhere, and I know behavior is not improving. It's such an absurd lie (falsely implying that behavior has improved by omitting the fact dysfunctional, thuggish behavior is no longer addressed in any way, shape, or form). This is yet another example snake oil in education.
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:07 AM
 
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If I had a dollar for everyone who was going to "fix" our building I could retire. Discipline? Who needs discilpine?
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Old 06-22-2018, 03:42 PM
 
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Haley23, I agree. A very small percent of disabled children don't understand consequences. When they're out of control, it's just easier to enable than risk injury or damages no one will pay for in the minds of admin.
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My 2 cents
Old 06-23-2018, 04:15 AM
 
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I just left a school in which they had started Restorative Justice.
I remember my admins telling me after my kids had a fight to 'restore the justice' and that it was SUPER important in the classroom.
It never worked for me - yeah my students could go - it's wrong to do this - I should do this instead. but in the heat of the moment when they are not thinking and just acting on impulse - it's kinda hard for a 8-year-old to start going. BREATHE - RELAX - I SHOULD NOT HIT.
Also the kids who 'needed' it the most - where the ones who refused to even sit down and talk.
Nor did they really train us well in it. During our first few PDS the dean of students went over it
and it was kinda like....ok....what...are...we doing?!

IDk - I just didn't like it - I felt like compared to the punishments the kids got at home (which I also don't agree with btw) - these simple I'm going to talk to you now punishments weren't that effective.
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I love the concept of Restorative Justice
Old 06-24-2018, 09:01 AM
 
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I want kids in my classroom. I want kids to know that it's their behavior that's a problem, not that they're a "bad kid". I want kids to be able to work out peer conflicts. All of those look really good on paper, and when it works, it's amazing! In my classroom, it's worked really well to have kids make amends and find ways to change their behavior. School-wide, it's not working. The campus restorative justice brigade has decided that naughty kids and their victims have to meet right after the incident, and that the victims have to publicly and immediately accept any attempt at apology. Kids are sent back to class together, even if one of them just got hit in the head by a flying chair. True Restorative Justice is very victim-centered, and takes their safety, needs, and concerns into account first and foremost. Victims don't have to listen to apologies. They don't have to shake hands. They don't have to forgive. Victims need time to think of what they need to feel safe and to be made whole after an incident. So my school's current practice of forcing victims to sit down right away and accept apologies is deeply flawed. I think it's something we need a lot more knowledge about and a lot more training in (and a lot more boots on the ground in terms of counselors and mediators) to actually make something like this work school-wide.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:48 AM
 
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I had to leave my job because of this practice. The students ruled the roost. Yeah, you have to enforce some kind of discipline in schools, otherwise there's very little learning going on.
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:19 PM
 
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I had a bad experience at a tough school that used restorative be Justice. It prob wasn’t implemented correctly & the behaviors of the kids made it so it really didn’t do much positive for the kids. Such as during our class peace circle the 2 major issues would act up nonstop!
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This makes sense
Old 07-05-2018, 05:01 PM
 
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"Restorative justice in prisons works, there is no doubt about the data on it...however that means learning about our behavior in addition to punishment, not instead of punishment."

Behavior at our school has declined drastically since the RJ was implemented. Kids have no consequences for their actions, rather they go to the principal's office, play games on the computer for a few minutes, and then come back to class. Never mind how much instruction they miss, but heaven forbid they should miss recess!

While I believe that every child should have a chance to turn his or her behavior around, if they haven't after a few visits to the principal, then it's obviously not working.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:12 PM
 
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I think it's time we kicked the psychologists out of education research. If their ideas truly worked you would never have a shortage of teachers. Unfortunately their false ideas were implemented when their parents were children.
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