If you have attended my Introduction to Restorative Justice or Restorative Justice 101 sessions, you’ve heard me use truancy as an example of how our communities can be accountable to “offenders.” Often kids who are truant have reasons for skipping classes that might not be obvious to the adults in their schools. Many, for example, are ashamed to come to school because they don’t have clean clothes to wear. Under our traditional (zero tolerance) system, those kids might be punished without anyone ever hearing why they are avoiding school. In my trainings, I invite us to look at this situation
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I just opened the blog from last week’s Ed.Gov newsletter. The article, touting the First Lady’s and Secretary DeVos’ school visit to highlight bullying struck a chord with me. Like the author, in my restorative justice experience, I have often found that those who exhibit bullying behavior have a clear justification in their minds for why they act as they do. Traditional methods of disciplining bullies (school administrators using their power to inflict punishment of the student) often allow those children to see themselves as victims rather than forcing them to come to terms with their own unacceptable behavior. However,
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