Restorative Justice Study Group 2011
In Summer 2011, Teachers Unite offered a Restorative Justice Study Group. Teachers, administrators, youth, and parents learned about the school-to-prison pipeline, the problems with the current system of discipline, and how we can implement restorative justice practices in our schools, communities, and daily lives.
The study group met on Wednesdays from 4.00 to 5.30 pm at Hue-Man Bookstore & Café (2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd., between 124th and 125th Streets, ABCD Trains).
Read Ryan Mendías's reflections on the study group to learn what we discussed.
*Note: You do not need to attend all of the meeting dates or read all of the suggested readings to attend the study group! We're looking forward to an accessible and fun discussion for folks at all levels of engagement. *
Past study group readings:
Week 1: 7/13 - Schools, Prisons, and Resistance
What is the school-to-prison pipeline? How does the current model of discipline practiced in public schools contribute to hyper-incarceration in prisons? This week’s focus will be on understanding the relationship between education and incarceration, with particular attention paid to the racial, gender, and class dynamics of the pipeline. We will start to think about the alternatives to punitive models of discipline that will inform our reading over the next six weeks.
Suggested readings (click to download the .pdf).
1. Selections from "Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline" by the NAACP
2. "Stories of Suspension" selections from "Education Interrupted" by New York Civil Liberties Union
3. Selections from"Student Led Solutions" by VOYCE
4. Selections from "Criminalizing the Classroom" by the New York Civil Liberties Union
6. Check out the "School to Prison Pipeline 'Zine" by Chicago Youth at http://juvenileinjustice.wordpress.com/sttp/
Week 2: 7/20 - The Past and Present of Restorative Justice
Where does the concept of restorative justice come from? At this week’s meeting, we’ll take a look at the roots of restorative practices as well as some of the contemporary theories of discipline and behavior.
1. Patricia Monture-OKanee: "Thinking About Aboriginal Justice: Myths and Revolution"
Monture-OKanee's article gives an important analysis of the roots and implications of restorative justice in Canada. A key piece to understanding the context, critiques and responsibilities of engaging in restorative projects.
2. Grace Lee Boggs, "Let's Talk about Malcolm and Martin" from the Next American Revolution
**Read Pages 91 to the end.**
This selection from Grace Lee Bogg's recent book "The Next American Revolution" gives an overview of key concepts from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that can impact how we understand the roots of restorative justice as a practice of building "Beloved Communities." The end of the chapter (pages 99-end) gives examples of projects in Detroit focused on building a just community.
This is part two in a series of articles about restorative justice practices of Native American, First Nation and other indigenous people of North America. The series is not intended be all-inclusive, but rather a broad thematic overview.
Week 3: 7/27 - Alternatives to Discipline: Restorative Circles
Can we imagine a school without discipline as we currently understand it? What might it look like? How can communities and schools deal with the realities of daily life democratically and fairly, without propping up damaging systems like the prison industrial complex?
We'll be reading and discussing one technique for building healthier schools and communities: restorative circles. During the meeting we'll also be building on last week's circle by practicing techniques for how to hold a discussion/dialogue in circle.
The following readings are chapters from the book Peacemaking Circles and Urban Youth: Bringing Justice Home by Carolyn Boyes-Waston. Since we'll only be reading a short selection from the book, we recommend that you support our reading group host by ordering the book through Hue-Man's at www.huemanbookstore.com/
Reading Selections from Peacemaking Circles:
1. Chapter 1: "The Gift of Circles"
Chapter 2: "Urban Youth and Modern Monsters"
3. Chapter Four: "The Circle as a Space of Empowerment"
Week 4: 8/3 - Restorative Justice in the Community
Restorative practices are powerful tools, both within and outside of schools. This week, we turn our attention to the ways in which restorative practices can be implemented in our communities. How can we incorporate restorative justice practices into our organizing work? We’ll be considering some of the challenges of restorative justice and thinking about what it would take to really shift our culture from one of discipline to one of justice.
1. Connie Burk's "Think. Re-Think. Accountable Communities." from The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (2011)
2. Carolyn Boyes-Watson's "Chapter 7: Open the Heart within Systems" from Peacemaking Circles
Optional extra reading. For an extended exploration of restorative approaches in activist communities in Latin America and elsewhere, feel free to check out:
4. Paula X. Rojas, "Are the Cops in Our Heads and Hearts?" from INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence's The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
Week 5: 8/10 - The School as An Institution: Gender Justice in Education
**SPECIAL LOCATION: North Star Fund Conference Room, 520 8th Avenue (btwn. 36th & 37th), Suite 2203 (near all Penn Station subways)**
This week we will be joined by fellow Dignity in Schools campaign members Girls for Gender Equity, a Brooklyn youth organization working to put an end to the barriers of segregation and discrimination based on sex, for a discussion on their amazing new book: Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and On the Streets.
*Please read the following excerpt in advance*: Hey, Shorty! The Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools
If you're able to purchase a copy of the book before Wednesday, please do so!
Week 6: Wednesday, 8/17: “How do you do Restorative Justice?”
4-5:30pm, Hue-Man Bookstore & Café (2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd., between 124th and 125th Streets, ABCD Trains).
What’s a fairness committee? How do you run a restorative circle? How do teachers and students interact in a restorative classroom? Now that we’ve thought about the theory and politics of restorative justice, it’s time to talk about what restorative justice looks like in the context of the classroom and classroom management.
Hear from Christine Olson, a teacher at James Baldwin School, and Bonnie Massey, a social worker at Bronx International, about the ways their NYC public schools have started to implement restorative practices.
"The School as Just Community: The Practice of Fairness" articles published in the journal "Schools: Studies in Education" by James Baldwin principal T. Elijah Hawkes, former Humanities Prep teacher Maria Hantzopoulous, James Baldwin teacher Christine Olson.
Check out the journal "Schools: Studies in Education" for more articles.
Teachers Unite member Joshua Heisler has created a "Fairness Committee" library. To access overviews of how fairness committees work visit: sites.google.com/site/restorativejusticenyc/documents