Restorative Justice allows people affected by crime to communicate with the person responsible, often with the aim of a face-to-face meeting. This gives them the chance to talk about the incident. They can explain how it has impacted them, seek assurances that it won’t happen again, and agree on how to put things right.
This is what many people affected by crime want, which is why 85% of victims who go through Restorative Justice are satisfied with the experience. Restorative Justice also leads to a significant drop in re-offending, as it helps people who have committed crimes to recognize the harm they have caused. Restorative practice can also be used to address non-criminal harm.
In this Zoom meeting, we discussed Restorative Justice in schools, focusing on a healing approach to student behavior versus a penal approach. Our panelists discussed what brought them to the work, what their programs do, their philosophy, and where they can be found. They also discussed ways to expand these programs throughout Washington state.
Toyia Taylor, Executive Director and Founder, WeAPP
In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.
In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Washington state Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens how COVID-19 has impacted Washington courts, how the court system can support students in an equitable way, what worked in her personal education journey, and what she would do to transform our education system if there were no budgetary constraints.
Thanks to the passage of House Bill 1541, students will no longer be suspended or expelled for discretionary offenses, and better statewide data on student demographics will ensure that the system is working to keep all students on track and in school. All students suspended or expelled will receive educational services and school staff will be provided with new trainings that are sensitive to culture and positively support all students’ growth.
Summary of 4SHB 1541
• Districts must annually disseminate discipline policies, procedures and data to students, families, and community.
• Districts must periodically review and update discipline rules, policies, and procedures.
• The Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) must develop a model policy by December 1, 2016:
School districts must adopt policy consistent with the WSSDA model by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
• The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must develop training for school staff on discipline policies and procedures (subject to appropriations).
• School districts are strongly encouraged to provide the trainings to all school and district staff.
• Prohibits the use of long-term suspension or expulsion as a form of discretionary discipline:
Defines “discretionary discipline” as an action taken that is NOT in response to a weapons offense, gang activity, defacing school property, violent offense, sexual offense, drug and alcohol offense, (these offenses come with mandatory disciplinary actions), or behavior that “adversely impacts the health and safety of other students or staff.”
• School districts may not suspend educational services as a form of discipline.
• School districts must provide an opportunity for students to receive educational services when suspended or expelled:
Alternative settings must be comparable, equitable, and appropriate to the regular education services the student would have received.
• Expulsions may only be the length of an academic term, as defined by the school board.
• School districts must convene a re-engagement plan meeting no later than 5-days before a student’s re-enrollment after a long-term suspension or expulsion:
Families must have access to a culturally sensitive and responsive re-engagement plan and process.
• The Washington State Education Research and Data Center (ERDC) must produce a regular report on the outcomes of youth in the juvenile justice system.
Educator Cultural Competence
• WSSDA must develop a plan for the creation and delivery of cultural competency training to school board directors and superintendents.
• OSPI must incorporate cultural competence training into Teacher/Principal Evaluation Program (TPEP) training.
• OSPI must develop an outline for professional development and training for school staff, including classified staff (subject to appropriation).
• School Improvement Grant (SIG), Required Action District (RAD), priority, and focus schools are encouraged to provide cultural competency training for classified, certificated, and administrative staff.
English Language Learners
• By the 2019-2020 school year, all classroom teachers funded with Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) funds must be endorsed in either bilingual education or English Language Learner (ELL) instruction.
• OSPI will provide districts with technical assistance and support in selecting program models, instructional materials, and professional development for serving English Language Learners (subject to appropriation).
• OSPI shall identify the schools in the top 5% of schools with the highest growth in ELL populations, and notify and encourage the schools and districts to provide cultural competence professional development.
• Beginning 2017-2018, all data collected and reported by school districts and OSPI must be disaggregated according to the federal subracial and subethnic categories, including:
Black students by African origin or native to US with African ancestors
Asian students by country of origin
White students by Eastern European nationalities
Multiracial students by the racial and ethnic combination of categories
• OSPI shall convene a task force to develop guidance on race and ethnicity reporting (subject to appropriation).
• Reduces the reportable size of a student group to 10 students, instead of 20 students.
• OSPI must develop data protocols and guidance for school districts and modify the student data system as needed.
• OSPI must incorporate training for school staff based on best practices for the collection of data on student race and ethnicity in other training or professional development (PD).
Recruitment and Retention of Educators
• To the extent data is available, OSPI must collect and make available on the Internet teacher demographic data by district.
• To the extent data is available, OSPI must collect and make available on the Internet teacher average length of service data by district.
• The Department of Early Learning must work with OSPI to create a community information and involvement plan for home-based, tribal, and family early learning providers on the Early Achievers program.
Integrated Student Services and Family Engagement
• Establishes the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol (WISSP), which will (subject to appropriation):
Coordinate academic and non-academic supports.
Encourage the creation and expansion of community-based supports that can be integrated into the academic environment of schools.
Increase public awareness that academic outcomes are the result of academic and nonacademic factors.
• The WISSP will include:
Needs assessments for all at-risk students to identify the academic and non-academic supports needed.
Schools and districts must develop close relationships with providers of academic and non-academic supports and community partnerships.
Tracking of student needs and outcome data.
• OSPI shall establish a workgroup to determine how to best implement the WISSP framework (subject to appropriation):
Submit a report to the Legislature by October 1, 2017 on policies that need to be adopted or revised to implement the WISSP framework
• Reestablishes the Center for Improved Student Learning (CISL) at OSPI (subject to appropriation).
Highline Public Schools has been in the news over the last few years regarding its work on school discipline, and for good reason. The district’s out-of-school suspensions and expulsions have dropped precipitously since 2006, when the district began implementing positive behavioral interventions and supports, known as PBIS, in its schools.
And Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield has a bold goal—zero out-of-school suspensions (except those necessary for safety reasons) for her entire district by 2015. Read More
Representatives from the League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the ninth and last in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.
By Tre’ Maxie, Member, Washington State Board of Education
I come from a family of educators. My family always valued education, and they set an expectation that I would not only attend college, but that we would also assist others in doing the same. I have been working to improve public education for a long time, so when the League of Education Voters invited me to visit Baltimore to see how Baltimore City Public Schools has successfully implemented equitable discipline reforms, I jumped at the chance. Read More
Representatives from the League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the eighth in the series, Transforming School Discipline: Lessons from Baltimore.
By Dr. Carey G. Anderson, Reverend, First African Methodist Episcopal Church
As a Pastor serving a local congregation in Seattle, Washington, I was greatly inspired to attend a trip sponsored by the League of Education Voters. This trip was an opportunity to interface with school administrators, teachers, and education partners in addressing school discipline and impacting the high school dropout rate in the city of Baltimore, Maryland.
One key observation with the school administrators that spoke with us was the inherent interest that is shown to each student. The model of student management focused on keeping students in the classroom, which included methods such as cognitive reasoning with students, behavior modification, active parental interaction, and the power of making choices. Read More
Representatives from League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the seventh in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.
By Beth Richer, Government Relations, League of Education Voters
There were a number of messages, strategies, and lessons that the Baltimore City Public Schools staff and administrators shared with us on the issue of school discipline. Three of these messages have remained with me:
First and foremost, take children as they are
Policies cannot replace positive school culture
What gets measured gets done
There is a critical step in revising school discipline policies that involves looking at the practical rather than the socio-emotional, and that involves data. Read More
Representatives from League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the sixth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.
By Reggie Witherspoon, Reverend, Mount Calvary Christian Church
Mount Calvary Christian Church has been working for years with members of our community who have been to prison, and we’ve been aware of the “school-to-prison pipeline” for some time. Working with the League of Education Voters (LEV) has allowed us to begin working with members of our community sooner—during the “school” portion of the aforementioned “pipeline”—with the goal of preventing the “prison” part of it altogether.
At Mount Calvary, we believe that education plays a major role in nurturing a strong community. Education is power, and it’s what liberates us. Without education, poverty always leads to crime. One of the things we’re doing through our youth ministry is developing relationships with Meany Middle School, Franklin High School, and Garfield High School so that we can implement mentorship and tutoring programs to help students study and prepare for college.
I ultimately decided to join LEV on their listening tour of Baltimore schools because of the plight of our community members—particularly that of African American males. I wanted to see what was going on in Baltimore and what had been implemented successfully that we could bring home. Read More
Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the fifth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.
By Tony Moore, Member, Federal Way School Board
The problems of the world will be solved by our future generations.
But when you look at where our kids are ending up, it’s clear that we are failing many of them. Our country has made a practice of punishing rather than nurturing our young, and it shows—in our school discipline practices, and in how we imprison so many of our citizens. Americans make up just five percent of the world’s population, but American jails hold a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Of those prisoners, nearly forty percent are African American, even though African Americans make up just thirteen percent of the United States population.
Many of the people in our prisons got there by way of archaic school discipline practices and the school-to-prison pipeline. To change this trajectory, we need to reform our school discipline practices. From there, we can work on solving the problems in our prison system and rebuild our communities so that everyone has a chance for success. Read More
Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the fourth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.
Children’s misbehavior should never be something they can’t recover from.
That was the overarching message I heard on a recent trip to meet with leaders and advocates from the Baltimore City School District. Thanks to a generous invitation from the League of Education Voters (LEV), I recently joined other education advocates, clergy, and LEV staff on a “scouting” mission to Baltimore.
About six years ago, Baltimore school leaders adopted the basic principle that student misconduct should never mean the end of a student’s education. They recognized that not only do suspensions and expulsions not work as a form of deterring future misconduct, but that these frequently spell the end of a student’s education. And, they recognized what we know to be true in Washington; that students of color are suspended and expelled far more often and for longer periods of time than their white peers, even when they engage in the same conduct.
Baltimore decided to stop suspending and expelling students from school for most forms of misbehavior—while some students may need a break from a particular class or may need to be removed from their home school for a time, no one should lose their right to an education for breaking a school rule. Read More