Restorative Justice is a social justice approach towards repairing the harm, promoting positive interpersonal relationships, and building community when conflict, misconduct or criminal behavior occurs. Restorative Justice brings social justice to the criminal justice system, schools, and communities. With youth, Restorative Justice is an evidence-based approach towards improving school climate; interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects youth of color; and creating safe and supportive environments without resorting to punitive responses.
In this class, students will learn and practice restorative justice skills, particularly skills in conducting restorative justice circles in schools and other community settings. Students will identify restorative justice techniques, learn implementation guidelines, and understand how and why the process works. We will explore using proactive circles to create positive communities and reactive circles to manage behavior and engage people in their issues. Students with an interest in working in criminal justice settings, neighborhood community centers, schools, child welfare settings, and other organizations serving children, youth, and adults are encouraged to take this course. Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of skills acquired issued by the Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition.