Justice Committee: Using Restorative Practices to Resolve Conflicts


>>Jenny: But that’s not the point. The point isn’t who’s throwing it. The point is Charles feels
like it was a personal attack, and that’s why he got angry.>>Mackenzie: From my point of
view, Mitchell’s not intending to hit you with the frisbee.>>Kianna: So you see how reacting in
the way you did affected Mitchell.>>Charles: Yeah, I can see that.>>Jenny: Because we practice Restorative
Justice, we are teaching students to take personal responsibility
for their actions. Students learn conflict resolution and
learn how to resolve their own issues.>>Mackenzie: Mitchell said
all he wants is an apology.>>Jenny: Restorative Justice in schools
is the idea that you have done something to hurt the community, and you
need to fix it to make it right. This is opposed to a traditional
discipline system which says, “You did something wrong, and
now you must be punished for it.” At our school Restorative Justice
dovetails with the traditional system. So the students can go
to the Justice Committee, instead of getting suspensions
and detentions. We offer it as an alternative way
for students to resolve issues with each other or with teachers.>>Jenny: The Justice Committee is
made up of students and faculty that help teach students
how to mediate conflict.>>Jenny: We have like perception–>>Jenny: Today we were training
our new Justice Committee members. We do mock mediations and play out a
scenario that could happen in school.>>Mitchell: I was very frustrated
because we weren’t doing it on purpose.>>Mitchell: The roles in Justice
Committee as the Teacher-Mediator, they’re there to have an
adult present in the room.>>Mackenzie: Either of
you can answer this.>>Mitchell: Then there
is Facilitator 1 and 2. They go back and forth
between asking the questions and helping solve the issue. Then you have the Affected Party
and the party that caused the issue.>>Kianna: J.C. is here to help both
parties reach an understanding. We are not here to determine
who is right or wrong.>>Kianna: The mock mediation gave
me and Mackenzie an opportunity to practice being a Facilitator. And it also gave our new members
an opportunity to see a meeting.>>Jenny: We start off
following a script. We start with the Affected Person. And then move to the Responsible Party. We try and get their stories heard.>>Mackenzie: Mitchell, could you
please tell us what has been happening?>>Mitchell: Charles was
getting annoyed with the fact that we kept interfering
with his basketball game.>>Jenny: Mitchell was playing
the role of the Affected Party.>>Mitchell: One time when
my frisbee crossed the line and he got a little aggravated and
he ended up throwing it on the roof.>>Kianna: So Charles, can you
tell us your side of the story?>>Charles: I told him to leave us alone.>>Jenny: Charles is playing the
role of the Responsible Party.>>Charles: I mean, he
lost his frisbee, so what? It’s a frisbee.>>Jenny: And then it
moves into the discussion. And it’s the discussion
and the probing questions that takes the most work
in training students.>>Jenny: I want to just
stop for a second. So what’s going on with
Charles’ body language right now?>>Kianna: Nonchalant, doesn’t care.>>Jenny: Yeah.>>Mitchell: Some of the
challenges that we have is the fact that not everyone wants to participate and see the other person’s
point of view.>>Jenny: Charles agreed to come here.>>Mitchell: We get around
that by reminding them that they agreed to be here.>>Kianna: Charles, can
you take your earbuds out?>>Rebecca: The Facilitators were
really good at finding positive ways to say what needs to be said.>>Jenny: Jump back in. We need to figure out what Mitchell
needs, and we need to get Charles to understand Mitchell’s perspective.>>Kianna: Mitchell, what do you need
to feel better about this situation?>>Mitchell: I would feel
better if I got an apology.>>Jenny: It’s not about
punishing the person responsible. It’s about giving the person
who’s affected what they need.>>Kianna: Do you think you overreacted?>>Charles: Yeah.>>Mackenzie: And Mitchell, do you
understand why Charles got frustrated?>>Mitchell: Yeah, I honestly do.>>Charles: Having both parties see
each other’s sides is important for resolving the issue.>>Mitchell: Apology accepted.>>Charles: No one wants
to be in a fight. But they don’t always know
how to fix the problem. So Justice Committee is a way to help them realize what
they need to do and to do it.>>Jenny: I give you a lot of credit. This is really hard stuff. So thank you, everyone!>>Mackenzie: That was fun!

4 Responses

  1. Chris Mason says:

    This is a great idea! Have you guys posted resources anywhere for others to see? Did you come up with this on your own or did you use some type of Program. Thanks

  2. Connor Greenwood says:

    Cool

  3. Joe Brummer says:

    Wish this video had more kids/adults representing people of color. Worry that people think RJ is for white schools rather than all schools.

  4. Ramena A says:

    This method needs to be modified to make sure that both student's perspectives were being seen, and understood. They are categorizing one student as 'right' and one student as 'wrong'. Instead BOTH students should be taking responsibility for their actions. Both students had faults, and both students should be held responsible. Not ok to give one student what they "need" but neglect the other student's valid feelings.

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