'Our school did its best. We did some of the things necessary for restorative justice: We made space for intentional discourse, asked students to fill out reflection sheets during interventions, and limited suspensions and expulsions. However, our administrators and staff had little to no formal training in how to lead restorative conversations. We didn't have alternative suspension placements and activities, nor did we have the outside partnerships, therapy services, or funding associated with comprehensive and effective restorative justice systems. Students would get away with both minor infractions and more severe misbehavior, which eventually threatened the overall safety of our school. More crucially, the needs of these students were not being met.'
My school tried its best at restorative justice, but we needed something more than good intentions: resources and training, writes former teacher Allison Fried.