Restorative Justice

Last Updated: 8/17/2020 7:31 AM






What is Restorative Justice in Schools?




Restorative justice fosters an environment of care, encourages accountability and responsibility, and addresses misbehavior and harm in an inclusive manner that strengthens relationships.

Restorative Justice in schools is a set of principles and practices that build community and involve processes that restore relationships when harm has occurred. Restorative Justice practices are used to support and compliment the SHINE philosophy and other current school climate initiatives to positively impact school culture, discipline, and academic needs.

There are Five Magic Questions that are used in Restorative Practices to guide conversations and harm circles:

To respond to challenging behavior....

  1. What happened?
  2. What were you thinking at the time?
  3. What have you thought about since?
  4. Who has been affected by what you have done?
  5. What do you think you need to do to make things right?

To help those harmed by other's actions....

  1. What did you think when you realized what had happened?
  2. What impact has this incident had on you and others?
  3. What has been the hardest thing for you? 
  4. What do you think needs to happen to make things right? 


Tier 1: Community Building (Prevention/Relate)

Tier 1 is characterized by the use of social emotional skills and practice (classroom circles) to build relationships, create shared values and guidelines, and promote restorative conversations following behavioral disruption. The goal is to build a caring, intentional, and equitable community with conditions conducive to learning.

Tier 2: Restorative Processes (Intervention/Repair)

Tier 2 is characterized by the use of non-punitive response to harm/conflict such as harm circles, mediation, or family-group conferencing to respond to disciplinary issues in a restorative manner. This process addresses the root causes of the harm, supports accountability for the offender, and promotes healing for the victim(s), the offender, and the school community.

Tier 3: Supported Re-Entry (Individualized/Re-Integrate)

Tier 3 is characterized by 1:1 support and successful re-entry of youth following suspension, truancy, expulsion or incarceration. The goal is to welcome youth to the school community in a manner that provides wraparound support and promotes student accountability and achievement.