Restorative Justice (NRS 392.472)
Except as other wise provided in NRS 392.466 and to the extent possible, a public school shall provide a plan of action based on restorative justice before expelling a student from school. Restorative justice means nonpunitive intervention and support provided by the school to a student to improve the behavior of the student and remedy any harm caused by the student. This plan must include, without limitation:
- Positive behavioral interventions and support
- A plan for behavioral intervention
- A referral to a team of student support
- A referral to an individualized education program team
- A referral to appropriate community-based services; and
- A conference with the principal of the school or his or her designee and any other appropriate personnel
Restorative disciplinary practices are an alternative to exclusionary disciplinary practices or removal from the academic environment, instead, restorative disciplinary practices help students establish respect for one another, take responsibility for their actions and behaviors, repair the harm that their behavior may have caused, reestablish positive relationships, and reintegrate back into the school community. Each School Performance Plan shall include restorative disciplinary practices, a multi-tiered system of supports, and culturally inclusive teaching practices.
A restorative culture seeks to address the missing piece of teaching social-emotional and conflict-resolution skills by turning behaviors into learning opportunities. Accepting responsibility for behaviors and making right what has been wronged is the goal of a restorative learning community. As much as possible, students are responsible to their teachers for classroom expectations and behavior. When working within the classroom does not work, a student may be referred to the counselor for an intervention aimed at helping him/her make better choices. The ultimate goal is to ensure a supportive and stable learning environment while encouraging growth toward self-discipline, acceptance of responsibility, and appreciating the rights of others.
Innovations will make every reasonable effort to correct student misbehaviors through restorative practices, positive behavioral rewards, and the use of a progressive discipline system. The use of these elements will enhance a positive school learning environment and avoid a negative behaviorally focused school. Most behavioral issues should be addressed at the classroom level by teachers. In all instances, school discipline should be reasonable, timely, fair, age-appropriate, and should match the severity of the student’s misbehavior.
Establishing Structures to Support Restorative Practices
1. Role of Administration
Innovations’ administration will play a lead role in implementing restorative practices at the school. These members must be willing to work towards a strong belief in restorative practices and ensure this new approach to school-wide discipline becomes the expectation for dealing with student and/or staff behaviors. To implement and maintain restorative practices, a Behavior Team must be organized within the school members of this team may include the following:
1. Administrator or designee
3. Support Staff
2. Role of Behavior Team
The Behavior Team brings together the various supports that students might need and streamlines communication between educators, support staff, and administration. The Behavior Team meets frequently to review punitive and restorative discipline data and address concerning trends/needs. This steam also helps develop individualized behavior plans for students of concern and communicate this plan/concern to parents/guardians. Questions of concern for the Behavior Team are:
1. Which students, addressing both individuals and larger demographics are being referred most often? What are the root causes? What supports can be offered?
2. Which students, addressing both individuals and larger demographics are being referred that were not before? What are the root causes of this change in behavior? What supports can be offered?
3. What are the rising behaviors seen throughout the school? What are the root causes? What is the plan to address this rising behavior?
3. Restorative Practices Coordinator
A restorative practices coordinator’s responsibilities can be divided into three categories: (a) reactive restorative practices, (b) proactive and preventative restorative practices and (c) restorative practices training/professional development.
Reactive restorative practices phase involves the support of students and teachers the coaching, modeling, and debriefing to students and staff members when an incident involves action. The proactive and preventative practices phase is the time where the school climate is improved, and further behavior issues are abated when possible. Finally, the professional development phase is the continued modeling, refining, and training/use of restorative practices so that a common school language and procedures are developed to produce meaningful restorative practices that validate and reshape poor behavior choices.
While it is suggested that the restorative practices coordinator be a full-time staff member, it can also involve a team approach at Innovations involving:
3. Impact Team Leaders
4. Social Workers
Innovations utilizes a multi-tiered instructional support model with a focus on positive, progressive disciplinary procedures to deter negative student behavior while empowering students to make appropriate behavior choices. If student behavior falls outside school wide expectations, state established behavioral guidelines will be used by school administrators to determine appropriate consequences and/or interventions for student behavioral violations.
In all instances, these guidelines may be modified contingent upon the level of severity of the incident and aligned with age, developmental level, and other extenuating circumstances. Whenever possible and appropriate, Innovations will provide restorative disciplinary practices which include 1) holding a student accountable for his/her behavior; 2) restoration or remedies related to the behavior of the student; 3) relief for any victim of the student; and 4) changing the behavior of the student.
In all circumstances, school administrators will make decisions based upon the health, safety, and welfare of all students. Decisions will be made regardless of real or perceived race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, and/or disability status with a focus on student success and their pathway to graduation.
Three Tiers of Restorative Justice
Tier #1: Prevention of the problem behavior
Tier #2: Prevent the development and escalation of problem behaviors for students who are identified as at
risk for chronic behavior problems
Tier #3: Reduce the intensity, frequency, and/or complexity of problem behaviors by providing
individualized behavior supports using evidenced based interventions
Innovations’ teachers and administrators will be using different types of strategies, or multiple strategies simultaneously to deal with poor choices or misbehaviors. From a restorative justice standpoint, this multi- tiered intervention usage could be:
- Investigation Phase: soliciting stakeholders’ interests and involvement in the event
- Supervision Phase: conferences with the victims and offenders to coordinate and collaborate what responsible members and leaders of a community do
- Mediation Phase: supports the healing process by bringing all members to use “I” statements to note the effect the incident had on all members while providing a chance for all members to mutually accept a responsibility for any harm committed
- Restitution Phase: the offender accepts accountability for the harm he/she caused to others with a ‘payment’ or good choice to be given to develop responsibility for his/her actions
- Community Service Phase: the offender is given an opportunity to make things right. Community service is meant to help develop a citizenship or participation-based experience to solve problems created by the offender so the behavior does not repeat itself.
- Counseling Phase: is an intervention with the counselor to discuss strengths and shortcomings to help make a connection to cause-effect relations and to setting and obtaining goals. This phase is meant to help prevent further poor choices and behaviors.