Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 34

the work, and fidelity to the model. Because we were seeing such strong results at Cole Middle School, one of the RJOY board members, who is also an Oakland Unified School Board Member, offered a Board Resolution, which would launch a district-wide RJ initiative. Youth also did organizing work around it. In January 2010, OUSD passed the RJ resolution unanimously, and OUSD supported the policy by hiring a full time RJ Manager and Coordinators at an increasing number of sites over the years since. How does RJOY help a school implement the RJ policy? We have a conference with administration and discuss RJOY’s responsibilities, school site administrative responsibilities, teacher responsibilities, and the outcomes that the school wants. People from the district also come to this conference at the school. We make sure we all have a meeting of minds before the school year begins. receptive, then the school coordinator can leave the school and school administration can carry on the work. What setbacks have RJOY or School Coordinators experienced after instituting RJ at a school site? The intellectual buy-in of school site administrators is tested when violence happens or drugs are found at a school and, out of habit, leadership might revert to punitive retributive justice models. Using RJ requires a transformation in thoughts about school discipline and a lot of mindfulness to make change. It’s not enough to attend training and return to your school; it’s about what you do with the things that you’ve learned and how you respond in the moment in often very challenging situations where the pressure is on to take strong action. What type of RJ training do you provide at the three school sites that RJOY serves? We then write a letter of understanding that memorializes everyone’s responsibilities and desired outcomes. This letter sets out the responsibilities and roles of the school site administration and the RJOY school coordinator. For example, a school might arrange for all staff to receive RJ training and regular continuing education, create an RJ site leadership team, and create an RJ discipline matrix with protocols for classroom managed versus office managed discipline. The RJOY school coordinator’s duties include assisting in data collection to help the school administration make informed discipline decisions and assisting in crisis intervention to resolve critical incidents. During the first two to three years at a school site, with a population of 200-500 students, we provide one full-time RJ coordinator, who facilitates or cofacilitates training, implements circles, integrates RJ into the daily school functions, engages in intentional relationship-building with every member of the school community, and collects and evaluates data. There should also be a part-time RJ coach who builds implementation capacity with the school staff, but in most cases, this is also the work of the Coordinator. Ideally, eighty percent of the school staff and a significant number of students receive 16-20 hours of training in RJ. When the school year begins, the RJOY school coordinator works in the school to actively and intentionally create relationships with every student and staff member at the school. That coordinator also facilitates proactive circles that build community and restorative circles that repair harm. Additionally, I stay in contact and check in at all times to see how things are going. We have three tiers of training. Tier 1 involves everyone in the school. We train teachers, school security officers, and administrators in community building circles and proactive restorative strategies. There is a continuum of restorative strategies, such as in class, value circles, where students and teacher work with one another to come up with values that will guide the classroom. During this phase, we are constantly coaching the school in implementation. Is the success of a Restorative Justice program tied to the effectiveness of the RJOY School Coordinator? At the beginning, yes; however, if we do our job properly and the school site administration is 32 How we can fix school discipline Tier 2 involves training about facilitating conflict circles to repair harm. This is an alternative method to suspension and expulsion. It is not necessarily for teachers because it takes a lot of time to get buy-in from the person who was harmed, the person who did the harm, their parents, and any other people