Columbia Public Schools has adopted restorative practices as a district wide initiative “to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships (IIRP)".
Restorative practice is the use of formal and informal processes to build relationships and prevent conflict and wrongdoing. It provides preventative strategies before and after a discipline issue, conflict or problem occurs. The practices focus on making positive changes with people rather than for or to people.
Affected parties can collectively define the impact and determine steps to make things as right as possible for everyone – those harmed, those who harmed others, and the broader community. Restorative practices takes incidents that might otherwise result in punishment and finds opportunities for students to recognize the impact of their behavior, understand their obligation to take responsibility for their actions, and take steps towards making things rights.
In other words, the restorative practices process:
- Identifies the harm.
- Involves all stakeholders to their desired comfort level.
- True accountability – takes steps to repair the harm and address its causes to the degree possible. Accountability creates healing.