In the wake of the Board's decision to reject a restorative justice program grant for Escambia County Schools, I have done some research on what other districts are doing with Restorative Justice.
One interesting story comes from Oakland, California.
A recently closed Middle School there had moderate success with their own Restorative Justice program.
From The Contra Costa Times Education Blog:
"A social justice center at UC Berkeley’s law school published a case study today that highlights the successes, challenges and potential of restorative justice in schools, based on observations at the (now closed) Cole Middle School in West Oakland."
The report referenced in the blog post has some interesting facts and figures to support their conclusion that the program was a modest success. Page 20 of the report has a graph that indicates 83% of the students at Cole Middle School felt that the program was helping with behavior issues at the school. 91% of Students felt the program helped their relationships with their fellow students.
Another blog post about the restorative justice model at Cole Middle School mentioned that the school was closed following years of declining enrollment. Due to the success of the program at Cole, however, the Oakland District's school board adopted the Restorative Justice program for use throughout its schools.
Locally, The Escambia County School District will not be participating in the Florida Bar Association's Restorative Justice Grant Program, but we will be utilizing the principles and techniques of Restorative Justice in our schools on our own terms; We're not giving up on the concept.
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