Best Practices in Restorative Discipline

While some schools see themselves as already engaging in restorative practices, the following guidelines serve as a means of assessing where a particular campus or administrator operates within the restorative continuum.

  • Restorative Discipline is a philosophy and system-wide intervention that places relationships at the heart of the educational experience.

  • The goal of Restorative Discipline is to change the school climate rather than merely respond to student behavior.

  • Restorative Discipline requires a top down commitment from school board members and administrators.

  • Restorative Discipline uses a whole school approach. All administrators, teachers, all staff, and students should be exposed to and/or trained in restorative processes with periodic boosters.

  • Restorative Discipline engages parents/caregivers as integral members of restorative conferences and circles.

  • Restorative Discipline uses an internal leadership response team to spearhead the implementation and help support necessary dialogue.

  • Restorative Discipline calls for an outside restorative justice coordinator to serve onsite.

  • Restorative Discipline has a data system to analyze trends and inform early interventions.

  • Restorative Discipline focuses on the harms, needs and causes of student behavior, not just the breaking of rules and dispensing of punishment.

  • Restorative Discipline places a fundamental attention on harm and the subsequent needs of the victim.

  • Restorative Discipline places an emphasis on meaningful accountability in matters involving harm and conflict.

  • Restorative Discipline takes time. It is dialogue driven and rests on the steady establishing and deepening of relationships.

  • Restorative Discipline calls for collaboration with community-based restorative justice programs, local businesses, and agencies that serve youth, including community and faith-based programs, law enforcement, and public health and mental health entities, local Community Resource Coordinating Groups, justice system representatives and other stakeholders.