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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204291 Find in a Library
Title: Researching the Prospects for Restorative Justice Practice in Schools: The "Life at School Survey" 1996-9
Author(s): Valerie Braithwaite; Eliza Ahmed; Brenda Morrison; Monika Reinhart
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Survey
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter explores the use and integration of restorative justice practices in school environments with data drawn from the “Life at School” survey.
Abstract: School communities are increasingly turning to restorative justice practices to manage disorder. Punitive sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used only as last resorts as school policies toward deviance change to reflect the growing tide of a “whole of school” approach. A “whole of school” approach involves developing a school culture in which the domination or exploitation of others is unacceptable, thereby reducing violence and bullying behavior. Restorative justice practices fit squarely within this approach to deviance. Data from the “Life at School” survey were analyzed to identify the contextual factors of effective restorative justice practices in schools. Survey respondents were 1,401 Canberra children between the ages of 9 to 13 years and 978 of their parents. Children completed questions about themselves and their school experiences. The analysis focused on discovering how relevant and malleable shame management skills were in reducing school violence; whether school programs could strengthen a student’s shame management skills; and if parents would be willing to accept a restorative justice practice that relied on shame management. The analysis found that the foundation of a restorative justice approach is the “whole of school” culture in which bullying and violence are viewed by the collective as unacceptable behavior that carries sanctions. It was also discovered that parental practices were of utmost importance in developing a sense of responsibility for one’s actions. Parents who denied that their bullying child intended to harm the victim conveyed the message that it was not necessary to accept responsibility. As such, restorative practices in schools are appropriate and effective because they function to bring together the family so that treatment for the group dynamics can be achieved. This is in contrast to punitive sanctions, which are only reactive to offenses and do not try to repair the harm. Schools that use restorative justice practices embedded within a framework of a “whole of school” approach are contributing to the positive character development of children. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Restorative Justice
Index Term(s): School discipline; Surveys
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