In January 2010, two administrators and a support staff member from Golden Secondary attended a three day restorative action workshop in Vancouver entitled “Conversation Peace: High School Discipline that Heals”. We were so impressed with the principles of restorative action that we brought the facilitator, Aaron Lyons, to Golden this December for another three day workshop. 14 teachers and support staff attended, 11 from Golden Secondary and 3 from the elementary schools in Golden. Since then, we have had two meetings to discuss next steps in order to begin implementing these principles into our schools.
Traditional discipline approaches typically ask the following questions:
• What rule has been broken?
• Who did it?
• What sanctions do they deserve?
Based on the teachings of aboriginal communities and faith traditions, restorative action asks the following questions:
• Who has been harmed?
• What are the obligations, and whose are these?
• What can be done to make things right?
Restorative Action is a response to harm that should, to the greatest degree possible, do the following:
• Invite Full Participation – Involve in conversation all those who have been harmed or who have caused harm in a conflict. Outcomes decided upon must feel fair and reasonable to all those participating.
• Work Towards Healing What has Been Broken – A restorative response seeks to address the harms resulting from a conflict and do what is possible to help heal any and all affected.
• Seek Direct Accountability – In cases where certain individuals are responsible for causing harm, those people should be held accountable for their actions to the people whom they have hurt. Appropriate reparation will be expected.
• Reintegrate Where There Has Been Division – Conflict and harm can create outcasts, alienation, and distrust in the school community. Where possible, Restorative Action will help with reintegration and the repairing of relationships.
• Strengthen the Community and Individuals to Prevent Further Harms – Restorative action is future-focused and asks the question: “What needs to happen to reduce the change of people being harmed again?” In this way, the focus is not on punishment but on how to create a healthier and safer community.
We are excited to have an approach to discipline and conflict which will strengthen relationships in our school, ultimately furthering our school-wide goal of attachment.