Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pittsburgh in groundbreaking project to make schools safer

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Schools

Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools welcomes families back to school.
Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Dr. Linda S. Lane, welcomes families back to school.

One in five students was suspended from Pittsburgh Public Schools last year. One school suspended 79 percent of its students. What’s more, many students say they feel they have to fight to defend themselves in school.
To make their schools safer, the leadership of Pittsburgh Public Schools, like those in several other school districts across the country, is embarking on a watershed project to implement restorative practices — a proven alternative to ineffective and harmful zero tolerance policies.
The most extensive restorative practices school implementation project to date, “Pursuing Equitable Restorative Communities” will implement the practices in half of Pittsburgh’s 50 public schools, with approximately 10,000 students.
A $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is supporting the initiative, with professional development provided by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School.
The district will implement the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change program in 25 schools during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. The approach includes “informal and formal processes to address misconduct, not as a reactive response to crime and other wrongdoing but as a proactive process of building relationships and a sense of community.”
“We are extremely excited to enter into a partnership with the IIRP through a grant from the Department of Justice,” said Pittsburgh Public Schools Director Of Operations, Student Support Services, Eddie Wilson. “We hope to build positive culture and community in all our buildings. A positive teaching and learning environment is the foundation upon which all academic success it built.”
The RAND Corporation will evaluate the impact of restorative practices on school safety and climate in the 25 “treatment” schools and compare these findings with a control group of 25 schools that are not implementing the practices. This research has the potential to impact school districts nationwide.
Students walk to class at Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8, via Gates Foundation, Flickr Creative Commons
Students walk to class at Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8, via Gates Foundation, Flickr Creative Commons

More school districts are implementing restorative practices to create safe, positive learning communities, including San Francisco, New York City, Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Current research projects include a RAND study in 16 Maine schools, funded by the National Institutes of Health, on the effectiveness of restorative practices in influencing school environments and decreasing problem behaviors; and a Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now study in 15 schools nationwide, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, on the impact of restorative practices on reducing disparities in discipline and rates of suspensions, arrests and expulsions in high poverty-area middle and high schools with significant proportions of students of color.
The International Institute for Restorative Practices, an accredited graduate school based in Bethlehem, PA, works with schools and other organizations to implement restorative practices and offers a Master of Science, a Graduate Certificate and professional development, as well as books, videos and free online educational resources. With affiliate organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Singapore and Australia and licensees worldwide, the IIRP is part of a large worldwide movement of practitioners, policy-makers and scholars advancing the field of restorative practices.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Oct.: National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: NC Center for Safer Schools

Go to the NC Center for Safer Schools’ website.  and our Twitter account: @NCSaferSchools:  feature several items for Bullying Prevention month, including a link to Bullying Prevention Awareness packet, a brochure, the Governor’s Proclamation. 
Please comment on NCCSS' Twitter page: one of those messages is shared each day.

Bullying Prevention Materials/Resources 2014
Also: Peruse left page 1 of this Safer Schools blog

Restorative Justice

Have you or someone you know ever been a victim of a violent action?
Could we have a process that encourages participants to “repair the harm”?
Our current system is oriented toward punishment, which is REACTIVE JUSTICE. Punishment does not teach the responsible person nor heal the affected person.
PROACTIVE Restorative Justice teaches students that their needs and voices are valued, teaches students to address and “repair the harm” at a beginning stage to avoid escalation to violence, and assists parents, faculty, and staff to better interpret signals from our children.
Restorative Justice Mediation uses the terms “responsible person” and “affected person”, not offender and victim, and focuses on: Who has been hurt? What are their needs? Who has the obligation to address the needs, to put right the harms, to restore relationships? (Howard Zehr)
Restorative Justice Mediation interrupts the school to court/jail/prison pipeline.

Following questions developed by International Institute for RESTORATIVE PRACTICES    

Restorative Questions I: of  responsible person: To respond to challenging behavior

What happened?

What were you thinking of at the time?

What have you thought about since?

Who has been affected by what you have done?  In what way?

What do you think you need to do to make things right?

Restorative Questions II: of affected person: To help those harmed by other’s actions

What did you think when you realized what had happened?

What impact has this incident had on you and others?

What has been the hardest thing for you?

What do you think needs to happen to make things right?                                   Restorative

Jon Powell - Campbell Law School 

Children Full of Life - Important Documentary.. Very ... 40:03 40:03       4th grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, Japan

Restorative Welcome and Reentry Circle - YouTube 14:00 14:00 
RJ in school settings: UK site:

Video Clip: Michigan High School Restorative Justice Process


Restorative Justice Programs, Schools, Mediation ...

Restorative Justice Online: Center for Justice & Reconciliation

"Restorative Justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational. This is very different from retribution, and is grounded in cultures around the world." p313
Piper Kerman's Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

Also: Peruse left p 5 of this Safer Schools blog: Restorative Justice

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oct.: National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: NC Center for Safer Schools

Go to the NC Center for Safer Schools’ website. and our Twitter account: @NCSaferSchools: feature several items for Bullying Prevention month, including a link to Bullying Prevention Awareness packet, a brochure, the Governor’s Proclamation.

Please comment on NCCSS' Twitter page: one of those messages is shared each day.

Bullying Prevention Materials/Resources 2014
Also, Peruse left page 1 of this Safer Schools Blog

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Domestic Violence: Telling Amy's Story

A part of a helping agency
A Minister
Director of an agency
Care about others
Work with people caught up in Domestic Violence
Want to be a part of a continuing effort to DO something about violence………….
PRINT and Post this and invite people to attend a free showing of AMY’S STORY”

You Can Help in the Fight to End Domestic Violence!

Please join the Family Service of the Piedmont and the High Point Police Department for a free showing of a critically acclaimed documentary about domestic violence
Telling Amy’s Story
Monday, October 6, 2014, 6—8 p.m.

High Point Theater, 220 East Commerce Street, High Point, NC 27260

Following the film, local professionals will be on hand for a Question and Answer session about domestic violence in our local community.

Please reserve your seat by October 1, 2014. To reserve your seat, please complete the form at:

Jim Summey
High Point Community Against Violence

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beating victim, perpetrator stand as example of restorative justice

Beating victim, perpetrator stand as example of restorative justice

Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In the summer of 2009, Brady Middleton was heading to college on a basketball scholarship when three brothers, two adults, and one minor viciously beat and robbed him.

All 3 suspects were caught. The older brothers are facing several decades in prison still. The youngest, 18-year-old Marcellus Bennett, is out of jail and working with his new friend, Brady Middleton, to change the way our society views justice.

Their story has received a lot of attention. Thanks to that attention, tonight Middleton was able to host a forum on restorative justice in Grand Rapids.

Restorative justice is basically finding a way to pull a silver lining out of the worst situations. Bennett and Middleton believe their story is the perfect example.

Five years ago, Middleton himself wouldn't have believed that was possible.

"I heard a gun cock from my right, and by the time I turned around three individuals were already on top of me," Middleton recalled.

He was beaten, pistol whipped, robbed and walked to a wooded area.

"The man ordered me on my knees, and had the gun to the back of my head," Middleton said. "I asked him, are you gonna kill me? And he said yes."

His assailants took off, but not before costing Middleton his basketball scholarships.

"Severe head contusion, traumatic brain injury, somewhere around 70 stitches above the left eye," he said, listing his injuries.

About a year later, he faced the youngest of 3 brothers who attacked him.

"I first saw Marcel, I believe it was at his sentencing hearing," Middleton said.

He was 13.

"How does a 13 year old get here? And why did they do this to me?" Middleton asked.

He says the answer became clear.

"Which really can be summed up as hurt people hurt people," he said.

Middleton started finding common ground with Marcel, eventually doing something much more important.

"Letting him know that i believed in him," Middleton said.

He says he was honored to play that small role in his friend's transformation.

"Marcellus did all the hard work," Middleton said. "He started excelling at his placement in the juvenile detention center, he actually became a leader for his housing unit."

Now 18 years old, Marcellus is a high school graduate.

Both he and Middleton are advocates for restorative justice.

"With all crimes, victim, perpetrator, and action, that's not the model that needs to be followed, but taking bad situations and getting the best out of them, that's what should be" Middleton said.