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Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:32 PM

(CA) Suspensions at Richmond High Plummet


RICHMOND, Calif. – By this time last year Richmond High had recorded close to 500 suspensions. This year the school, which caters to one of the poorest and most underserved student populations in the Bay Area, has halved that number through an approach inspired by the Restorative Justice movement.

“We have to stop the ‘school to prison pipeline’,” says Millie Burns from Catholic Charities East Bay, a non-profit organization working closely with Richmond High’s staff to implement the Restorative School Discipline Project in conjunction with The California Endowment’s Healthy Richmond initiative.


Staff and students alike at Richmond High attribute the school’s success – suspensions have fallen from 486 in January of 2011 to 290 this year – to its adoption of Restorative Justice practices that were initially focused on the criminal justice system. Such practices emphasize reconciliation and, when applied to a school setting, give students the opportunity for redemption in place of expulsion.


Before the new policy, Sherwood says the school spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with petty fights. Now, he says, staff work on training the general student population, offering one-day sessions for students and faculty members.

“What everyone likes about the circle is that everyone gets to be heard, everybody gets to tell their understanding of what happened,” explains Sherwood. "In the circle we come to a solution that is acceptable for everyone. And that is unique for a lot of young people.”

A good example of how an authentic community-driven reform can make a real difference in school culture and children's lives.

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Reply (CA) Suspensions at Richmond High Plummet (Original post)
Starry Messenger Feb 2012 OP
elleng Feb 2012 #1

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:59 PM

1. Imagine that, 'everyone gets to be heard!'

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