Restorative Practice Programs to Pilot in Four Brooklyn Schools

Restorative Practice Programs to Pilot in Four Brooklyn Schools

June 23, 2015

A new program focusing on the reformation of disciplinary approaches will pilot in four middle and high schools in Brooklyn.

The restorative practice program, created by the Brooklyn Community Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Mayor de Blasio’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline, will focus on addressing discipline protocols that disproportionately impact young people of color and special needs students, according to a Brooklyn Foundation press release.

Accounting for 70 percent of the public school student population, black students comprise 90 percent of school suspensions. Likewise, students with special needs make up 12 percent of the student population and are on the receiving end of a third of all suspensions.

“Our students learn best when they are in safe and supportive environments where they are encouraged to resolve conflicts peacefully and thoughtfully,” said Lois Herrera, CEO for the Office of Safety and Youth Development, part of the NYCDOE.

The restorative practices program embodies “restorative justice,” defined by the Brooklyn Community Foundation “as a philosophy and practice that empowers all affected by an incident—including victims, offenders, and their supporters—to decide collectively how to reconcile and repair harm.”

The restorative practices program will be tested in Science Skills Center High School, Ebbets Field Middle School, the School for Democracy and Leadership, and the Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies this September. Four nonprofits with restorative justice, youth services and/or conflict mediation experience will be selected to run the pilot program in the schools.

Thomas Seubert