Restorative Justice is picking up momentum in school districts and juvenile justice systems across the nation. As an evidence-based, cost-effective alternative to exclusionary discipline policies, these practices and policies keep youth in school and out of prison, maintain safe learning environments, and provide opportunities for youth to be active and accountable members of their community.
As part of larger national and global social justice movements, we envision building a restorative city with institutions and a culture of compassion that embraces all lives and communities in the District, from schools and families to neighorhoods and government. To get there, we are committed to honest collaboration, living our values, self-reflection, empowering local communities, and disrupting racial and other forms of oppression.
Restorative DC, a project of SchoolTalk, supports around one dozen DCPS and public charter schools in whole-school implementation of Restorative Justice practices and culture change. It does so through intensive, trauma-informed, collaborative, customized, onsite, and locally-based technical support in order to lower incidents of conflict and harm, reduce the use of suspensions and expulsions, increase school performance, and center the school community around relationships, inclusivity, and accountability.
Restorative DC offers monthly training and peer learning opportunities that are open to all DC public and charter schools, as well as the agencies and organizations that youth.
In partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the DC Office of Attorney General (OAG), Restorative DC provides restorative alternatives to prosecution such as Restorative Justice Conferencing.
"You did a fantastic job at putting together what was a thoughtful, effective and information rich training! I walked out a different person and fully interested in increasing my knowledge and putting myself on a learning path. Thank you!"
"I wanted to make sure I told you how helpful the experience has been. The following week I had the opportunity to be circle keeper for a responsive circle between staff...which I wasn't expecting. The outcome was great and I really credit the experiential training offered by you and your team! I felt really prepared and participants really seemed to get a lot out of it as well. So again, thank you!"
"I took some things I learned from last session and applied them with our advisory and my other classes and it was an absolute success. Our students need this type of meditative reasoning...."
"This training must and should be required for all educators in DCPS. The process allows us to unpack our baggage so, that we may help others. Let this be the beginning and just like a circle, don’t let it end. Trust the power of the circle!"
Let this be the beginning and just like a circle, don’t let it end. Trust the power of the circle!"
"Rules without relationships breeds rebellion”
"I single [our RJ Coordinator] out because even before we implemented [RJ], she was doing it through her demeanor. She creates a family environment so that students who enter that professional learning community call out each other when someone breaks the community."
"First year, we were chasing. Students were running. We were suspending. Students were running... [This year] we are giving students a voice!"
"One of my favorite parts is that RP is so user-friendly. There is such a push on the academic piece nowadays and there is a disconnect between the educator and the youth. It is a problem that exists in so many of our schools. RP closes the distance between our educators, adults, and kids. This helps us keep connected as they are getting older. It's a great tool. Not just reactive, but to build community."