Sanborn's Restorative Justice Model: Year in Review

This year, under the supervision of Assistant Principal Ann Hadwen, our school started a restorative justice model as a way to help empower students to play a leadership role in their school. The program is called the Justice committee. The idea came out of a school culture survey that our school conducted three years ago as a way to promote a more positive school culture and climate. 

The following information was compiled by Mrs. Hadwen to help our community understand how this pilot year went with the Justice Committee.


A Brief Summary

The 2014-15 school year marked the first full year of Justice Committee (JC) implementation at SRHS. The committee heard a total of six cases, which involved students from all four grades. Total membership was increased to 22 students with the addition of seven freshmen. At the end of this year we will be saying goodbye to four seniors who have been JC members from the start of our program two years ago.

2015-16 Goals

      Develop a JC visibility plan.
Recruit and train new members in the first 6 weeks of school.
Schedule-out the entire year to allow all interested staff to fully participate in the JC.
      Elect JC officers.

Did you know?

·         JC members sign a confidentiality agreement each year, which prevents them from discussing any aspect of a hearing.
·         Hearings are voluntary. Students are offered the opportunity to have a case heard by the JC, or to work with an administrator to receive a disciplinary consequence.  This year several students and some faculty members declined to use the JC as a means to resolve an issue, instead opting for a resolution decided by administration.
·         The JC doesn’t seek to punish. The purpose of the JC is to work with a student (responsible party) to design an outcome, which will restore the harm done to the community.
·         At the conclusion of a hearing the responsible party will be assigned a due date by which they must have completed their assigned outcome.  If the outcome is not completed, the case is referred back to an administrator who will assign a consequence.
·         In order to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible the JC makes every attempt to assemble a peer jury within 48 hours of receiving a referral. Staff members have been flexible in allowing students to be excused from FLT (and sometimes academic) time to attend a JC hearing.
·         The JC hears complicated cases. Administrators generally work with students to address low level infractions. The more complicated cases are the ones that end up with the JC.
 

Challenges

Although successful, this year was not without its challenges. As a student run organization it’s the students who are responsible for educating their classmates about the JC and promoting its existence. We fell short in this area and need to make JC exposure a priority for the 15-16 school year. A second more challenging issue this year was finding a consistent space for hearings and meetings. Not having a space designated to the JC impacted the group’s ability to hear cases as quickly as we would

have liked. Lastly, the schedule impacted the ability of some staff members to participate in hearings. By using FLT time students weren’t pulled out of academic classes but our member teachers were otherwise committed to their FLT classes and had limited involvement in JC activities.






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