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Restorative justice practices and Approaches in Schools

May 13,2022

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice practices and Approaches in Schools

Restorative justice is a term that emerged in writing in the first half of the 19th century. Oxford Dictionary defines Restorative Justice as "a system of criminal justice that focuses on rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large." The movement has gained strength all over the globe. This is the best solution that can replace retributive justice - the method of compensating a crime with a punishment proportionate to the offence.

However, there is a wide emergence of opinion that the thought of justice for crime should be within criminal justice and not as justice to others who have not done any crime. In children's cases, the term is often used as Restorative Approaches rather than Restorative Justice. This will dilute the thoughts and gives a tender approach as it has to deal with children. Therefore, this article will be referring to Restorative Approaches rather than Restorative Justices as it deals with the primary educational institutions.

Reacting toward a crime, offensive a complicated behaviour of children in educational institutes

 Rather than altering terms in the area, the thought by itself becomes tender as it has to deal with kids. We conducted research for this article on the offensive and complicated behaviour of children in schools. The exact characteristics and degree of the problems in schools and the knowledge in response to such situations are also discussed here. We might come across instances wherein children behave offensively. We usually quote all such instances to be characteristic of the child and take them for granted as criminals.

This doesn't seem right. We should take extreme care while approaching and dealing with problems of wrongdoing among children. We should never generalise based on peculiar situations. The children's behaviour shall never be tagged as "offensive" or anti-social. The instances reported as offensive among schools themselves are not accepted by all. People strongly opine that it should not be dragged under the term anti-social.

Specifications for the teachers to mingle with the children

There are certain specifications for the teachers to mingle with the children. The type of approach depends on the behaviour of the children. Generally, these include children with a disruptive nature or children with a challenging nature who create a challenge to the teacher so that it becomes difficult for the teachers to control. There may be children who do not have an interest in anything, whatever it is. There is a special way to deal with these children as well. But what usually happens in the schools is that the teachers often take the approach of a culprit to the children for every non-sense that they do. The school's identification of the issues is not correct. However, their approach towards these incidents is quite to the mark with excellent discretion standards.

Restorative justice

Most of the so-called "crimes" which occur in the schools are not major. Schools should discuss and close student-related issues with no involvement of the law and order officers. The Restorative justice practices  in the schools may be more than enough for this. The schools' authorities and the law and order team have agreed upon this. Police officers who attend school-related crimes should be aware of the procedures followed in the school. Also, the crime that has occurred must be examined properly. It should not be recorded if it is negligible or not serious. Also, the authority of the school, the parents of the child and the child itself should agree to the incidents that have happened.

childhood living in schools

Children spend a major part of their childhood living in schools. Thus, schools have a lot to do with the character formation of the children. Once a child commits a mistake, the reaction toward his wrongdoing is very important. The reaction of the students and how the adults deal with the situation is a serious matter of concern. Apart from all these, how the children go through the situation is very important, how the after-effects have affected them.

Besides the formal education that pupils acquire in the classrooms, schools being the small samples of society, provide the students with a lot more informal things to learn, understand, get used to, and think on. Informal learning is what teaches morals and values to children. This is from where the children grasp the knowledge out of the textbooks. There is a hidden set of positive and negative characteristics persist in society. The children witness these and get to know what is to be appreciated and what is to be neglected.

Handling the attitude and connection with children in schools

They also learn how to relate to themselves and others. Restorative Approaches focus on handling the attitude and connection with children in schools. They do not teach them but make them learn how to behave correctly and positively in an appealing way. These lessons they learn in school mould them into persons with a good heart in the future. Restorative Approaches people are widely recognised by people all around the globe.

 The restorative approach places itself as a necessary approach in society to deal with the people related to the situation and help them overcome it by being with them. The double benefit of the practice is that they have control over the happenings and extend a level of support that brings considerable relief for them. Rather than implementing strict rules of obedience and discipline, the people RA's will be representing these children at their best. The primary aim is to bring back the children to the mainstream rather than isolating them based on certain incidents. The idea is to be with them and go on with them rather than giving those orders and tasks, or you are doing something for them sympathetically.

Restorative Justice practices  and Approaches

 The general understanding of Restorative justice practices  is that it is entirely different from the usual punishment method for the offences committed. It is a method to eradicate certain socially dangerous issues and problems. Restorative approaches usually focus on activities that go on par with the acceptable global views. It is delivered so that it is advantageous for children at all levels and at all stages of life. In the case of Restorative approaches toward the children, the primary focus is on satisfying the need of the offensive kids. Usually, in such instances, it will be difficult to identify who is the real victim and who is the offender because they might have a long, complex history of small incidents. Thus it will be good not to use the terms lie victim and offender in the case of a restorative approach towards children.

 Studies show that research has done on the re-offending attitude of children is more effective than any other research on the related topic. This research had covered a large area and seemed to be very positive. The research was done based on a face-to-face interview and on-court orders released. From the pieces of evidence that they have collected, the conclusion that they could reach was that the method had the full potential to be useful. But the quality of the data then was not bright. Most of the practices focus on a wide range of a school as a whole rather than focusing on certain special incidents.

The Restorative Approach toward the students involves three steps.

1.The curing of the harm caused

2.The overcome the struggle happened

3.The improvement of the relationship between the related people

The idea of improving relations is more focused on outcomes from the related people. The very essence of the Restorative approach lies here; wherein there is a transformation in the approach of the related people to the incident with each other. The thought or the process of Restorative justice practices  wins only if there is a positive change in relationships.

Schools were given this idea many years ago. Experts opined that the schools had a major role in the Restorative justice practices.  Even the critics against the normal schooling system have a very good opinion of the Restorative Approach. Experts who contribute to humanity and behavioural science topics constantly point out the need for restorative approaches in schools to achieve good results.

Eradicating social harms

Restorative justice applies to a vast area. It includes eradicating social harms, improvising the social situation, helping people overcome any social terror, in schools and school children, arguments and serious issues within the families, in the law and order system of the state. The area of Restorative justice practice is so wide that people often doubt how the system works. They ask on what is what exactly happens with restorative justice. Some of the renowned authors in the field opine that restorative justice practices in schools  has some negative aspects and is very close to the criminal justice system. Also, this thought process will have a close association with the criminal justice board.

Also, they have a biased attitude that they take up only serious issues. They should consider every minor because there is a chance for them to develop as serious issues in the future. So, it is essential to pluck out the thought of being offensive even before it develops. Schools mostly take a wide approach focusing on relationship management, attitude and behaviour rather than each child.

 The Whole School Approach in the Restorative Approach

 The very care and reason for implementing the Restorative Approach in schools are evident. The practice of the Restorative Approach fits the existing system of schools in a perfect way. But the authority of the parent community and the teaching and non-teaching staff in the school should understand the approach. They should have a mind to put in Restorative Approach toward the upcoming generation. Schools have always maintained decorum to ensure discipline in schools.

They have given certain rights and responsibilities to the teachers to deal with the students, ensure discipline and punish them in case of any offensive acts. However, this has resulted in unpleasant experiences for the children, staff, and parent community. This is where Restorative Approach has got its role to play. This is the solution to all these problems. Implementing Restorative justice practices in Schools  will bring in a positive attitude and a pleasant climate.

Whole-school approach to behaviour and attitude

Scholars and policymakers have a global unity regarding the necessity for a whole-school approach to behaviour and attitude. The Whole School approach began with a report from Britain in 1989. The prime focus of the whole school approach is the management of relationships with the schools. Several schools also include the parent and the staff community with this. The focus of the approach varies with different situations and different schools. The thought of eradicating or overall control of an issue will have great effects.

Take, for example, the removal of racial discrimination in schools. This will bring in the thoughts of equality among everyone. We will have a young generation grown up with no thoughts of racial discrimination. This will bring peace and harmony to the school atmosphere, and they will be able to go on par with smooth and sleek relations with everyone in and around the school.

Works at different levels

Experts opine that the Whole School Approach will have its works at different levels. It shall be to a particular student, a class as a whole, the school, or maybe even the community. The thought encourages the involvement of young people and adults in this program. It is a problem, but not one without a solution. The restorative process needs follow-ups. One should accept that it is not possible to eradicate offences.

A wide application of the Whole school approach will surely bring peace and harmony to the school and create a positive vibe among the people. Many countries are towards the thought and complete implementation of these thoughts in school. They have very well learned about the exact idea of Restorative justice practices  and have an urge to see it implemented. This is because they are well aware of the positive effect of the idea. The schools should encourage learning language and moral values through restorative justice practices  in schools. Massive awareness campaigns are an excellent way to make it happen.

Expectations or aims to fulfil

It is evident from the behaviour that most children in schools have certain expectations or aims to fulfil regarding their attitude, action, and the relation between their co-students and teachers. These might vary for children or maybe the same for a group. Another focus area is to mainstream the downtrodden children. This is in the case of children who are into some serious issues. The prime focus is to bring back children to the mainstream and somehow make it possible for them to help them be normal as others.

The general thought on the Restorative Approach is that the main focus of the thought is on children with the problem. Children who have offensive behaviour and are from poor social backgrounds. But this is not the only scope of the Restorative Approach. Various styles shall be adopted to change the whole school atmosphere positively. The restorative approach has got its place in any issue or behaviour development of the children.

 Safety in schools for a secured community

Trust in the staff dealing with children is of utmost importance in schools. They should feel secure about being with them. It is one of the primary necessities of humankind to feel safe wherever they are. In the case of children, it is often very difficult for them to feel secure about being safe. The thought of the children being safe is an important factor in behaving well. Their confidence in children being safe helps them be pleasant and peace-loving.                                                                                                                                            

The discussion on school safety is gaining momentum these days because of the very unhappy and unusual incidents (including deaths) that have been happening in school surroundings. Rather than taking care of and discussing the massive social security incidents that have been happening in schools, schools still concentrate on certain daily routine events and other incidents which are silly and confined to the relationships within the school atmosphere.

Even the adults keep away from these incidents as they are afraid of them. They discuss it and study this but do not come forward to take it as a problem and act against such incidents or similarly avoid further happenings. A study on the offensive happenings in schools reveals that most of the kids involved in this did not maintain a good relationship with their co-students. They were in action in the usual activities. This reveals that the way teachers and the schools deal with the children plays an important role in their behaviour.

Influence on children's academic, social, and behavioural achievements

Experts say that schools have a huge influence on children's academic, social, and behavioural achievements. The schools do have an important role in the severe issues happening with the school's students. The atmosphere and surroundings of the schools are in close relation to the attitude and behaviour of the children. Thus the schools have great potential to reduce or control the offensive nature of children. For this, the teachers and staff should give special attention to the needy, so they don't get into bad social habits.

Experts opine that the restorative approach should act on par with the actual existing problems and necessities of the children, rather than taking prior steps for avoiding unpleasant happenings in the future. Schools have the potential to control and eliminate severe issues in the schools. Their active involvement can bring in considerable change in the happenings of the schools and the behaviour of the children in those schools. This will have a more significant impact on society as the control in schools results in the growth of a risk-free generation, with fewer chances to cause harm. The schools shall play the dual roles easily. One is to act as safe custodians of the children's community, and the other is to mould a not-offensive generation.

Powers to play in the Restorative Approach

In a nutshell, schools have some keen powers to play in the Restorative Approach toward the children. They deal with the children's relationship with each other and their attitudes towards different people. It is human to quarrel, and it happens in any group. But it is with these quarrels that we learn things. No one is perfect, and everyone should get a chance to learn and correct mistakes. Also, whatever the conflict is, the ultimate aim of some of the experts associated with restorative justice practices  is peace.

Restorative justice has the potential to get to a wider aspect of society other than those in schools. Restorative justice practices  is an amazing option to solve issues between communities and riots. Expert opinions reveal that peacekeeping is important in schools that avoid conflicts. However, peacekeeping is only the starting point of Restorative justice practices.  Schools are places where humans meet varied cultures first and start preparing for their future. With the right implementation of Restorative justice practices in schools,  it has the full potential to mould a bright sensible community.

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