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Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a set of principles and practices employed in Oakland Unified School District to hold students accountable for their actions and behavior and the effects of those actions on others and the community as a whole. The underlying premise of restorative practices is that people are happier, more cooperative, more productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them rather than to them or for them.

Key goals

  • To understand the harm done to an individual, group or the community and develop empathy for both the harmed and the harmer
  • To listen and respond to the needs of the person harmed and the person who harmed
    To encourage accountability and responsibility through personal reflection within a collaborative planning process
  • To reintegrate the harmer (and if necessary the harmed) into the community as valuable, contributing members
  • To create caring climates to support healthy communities
  • To change the system when it contributes to the harm

Models and applications Class meetings – an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns important to students

Circles – a meeting held in a circle where only the person holding the talking piece is able to speak, everyone in the circle has the opportunity to share

Conferencing – may involve facilitators, students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members, or may be limited to those harming and those harmed and perhaps a few family members of both

Reintegration following suspensions – a circle process is used to reintegrate a student