LA School Offers 'Restorative Interventions,' 'Healing Circles'

By Susan Jones | September 6, 2016 | 6:25am EDT
(AP File Photo)

( - School punishment is out, and "restorative interventions" are in, according to a blog on the U.S. Education Department website.

The author, a "school culture specialist," discusses the effort to make the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles "serve our community in a socially just way."

The school, which has a high percentage of disadvantaged students, uses state funding to hire full-time mental health practitioners and to train teachers and administrators "on trauma-sensitive instruction."

When students misbehave, "we begin a restorative justice process by understanding what happened, who was affected, and how we might resolve the situation in a non-punitive manner," the author writes.

"We confer with those involved individually before the larger community of students, families, and school staff are convened in a 'healing circle'. The healing circle provides the group a space to share how they were affected and to collectively decide how to respond to the incident. Healing and justice emerge from this community – fully supported and facilitated by our staff."

The "restorative justice" approach is credited with reducing the school's student suspension rate from 5.3 percent in 2012 to 1.4 percent in 2016.

The school also conducts home visits and teaches ethnic studies "to both affirm our relationships with students and to assist them in navigating life circumstances," the author writes.

See full blog at Education Department website.

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