Restorative justice is a concept for helping students develop empathy and social concern. Today’s New York Times carries the story excerpted below on the topic:
“There is little down time in Eric Butler’s classroom.“My daddy got arrested this morning,” Mercedes Morgan, a distraught senior, told the students gathered there.
“Mr. Butler’s mission is to help defuse grenades of conflict at Ralph J. Bunche High School, the end of the line for students with a history of getting into trouble. He is the school’s coordinator for restorative justice, a program increasingly offered in schools seeking an alternative to “zero tolerance” policies like suspension and expulsion.
“The approach now taking root in 21 Oakland schools, and in Chicago, Denver and Portland, Ore., tries to nip problems and violence in the bud by forging closer, franker relationships among students, teachers and administrators. It encourages young people to come up with meaningful reparations for their wrongdoing while challenging them to develop empathy for one another through “talking circles” led by facilitators like Mr. Butler. Continue reading “Teaching empathy in schools”