Denver Schools Consider Restorative Justice

The Denver public school system is considering whether to adopt a districtwide restorative justice model. The $2 million program would put a staff restorative justice coordinator in every school and provide teachers and administrators training for the approach, which offers an alternative to suspensions and police involvement by focusing on face-to-face interaction–between, say, two boys who get into a fight on school grounds–and a conflict resolution developed by the parties involved.

According to this AP report, the Denver Public Schools district “hands out more out-of-school suspensions than other large Colorado districts and suspends more middle school students than any other grade level.” At the Montbello High School, “where restorative justice has been in effect two years, Principal Antwan Wilson estimates it has cut out-of-school suspensions by as much as 40 percent.” Districtwide implementation of restorative justice could bring the numbers down ever further. Here’s hoping school board members give it a shot.

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