Monday, November 2, 2015

Restorative Justice is not the only Important Tool

      Although I like the concept of restorative justice I have learned it cannot be the only tool in the toolbox of professionals working with poverty populations.  I realize someone will say you need great relationships with the students.  I don't disagree.  Relationships are vital. But these two things alone are not always enough.

        I saw someone teaching on wisdom literature.  I bring it up because she mentioned there are 3 types of foolish people.  There are people who just don't know any better.  These are the people restorative justice reaches easily.  One you teach them the right thing to do they make changes and all is right with the world.

       Then you have the other end of the spectrum.  There are a few people that no matter how well you teach the correct behavior they will not make changes.  Sometimes even discipline will not turn them around.  Thankfully these young people are not the majority.  The majority of people are somewhere in between these two extremes.

      The vast majority of people follow the expectations because they do not want the consequences.  They see someone who will not choose right punished and they decide they don't want that.  Children are not the same as adults. Students do not have the life experiences of adults and they may need more immediate consequences.  That is why I now understand that ISS may be an important part of a successful inner city school program.  I think all school systems wishing to create success for these schools will bring in something in addition to restorative justice to help provide some noticeable consequence for young people who cannpt be reached by restorative justice alone.


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