Who We Are
The Restorative Schools Vision Project (RSVP) was founded as a response to the crisis in public school education brought about by the disproportionate impact of suspensions and expulsions on students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ youth, and other marginalized groups. We view the solution to the crisis as requiring a paradigm shift in school discipline away from punishment and zero tolerance and towards restorative justice, social emotional learning, and positive responses based on secular ethics. We believe that students can learn from their mistakes and that their mistakes should not be treated like quasi-criminal behavior. We teach a restorative process that combines the best of Restorative Justice (RJ), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Narrative Practices (separating the person from the problem).
We emphasize healing outcomes over and above formulaic procedures, favor collaborative solutions over authoritarian outcomes, and believe that relationships rather than rules are the key to lasting, positive changes in school climate. In sum, our training philosophy is solutions oriented.
Purpose of the Organization
The purpose of the organization is to provide training in Restorative Justice and Restorative Narrative Practices to schools, including school district personnel, school administrators, teachers, staff, students and their parents/care givers, and community members and professionals who have an interest in schools. Our over-arching goal is to work with schools to establish a school culture of understanding and compassion and to work with students to take responsibility for the mistakes they make using supportive non-punitive practices. We aim to substitute Restorative Justice Practices for out-of-school suspensions and put and end to the school-to-prison pipeline.
- We believe that children’s mistakes should not be treated like crimes.
- We believe in educating the whole child by teaching ethics, empathy, and conflict resolution along with traditional subjects.
- We believe that there are many creative responses to misbehavior that do not rely on punishment to gain compliance.
- We believe in schools that use compassionate alternatives to suspension and expulsion.
- We believe that a restorative schools environment contributes to the health and happiness of the entire school community.
- We believe that “’it takes a village.”
What is a Restorative School?
A Restorative School is a school where compassion and right relationships are valued as the heart of the school community. A Restorative School focuses on the harm done by misbehavior rather than on the rules that were broken. A Restorative School promotes a happy, healthy school environment where children, teachers, administrators and staff flourish. Conflicts at a Restorative School are treated as opportunities for growth. They are resolved by those involved taking responsibility for their actions and making amends for harm they have caused.
The 4 Rs of a Restorative School:
A Restorative School is focused more on relationships than on rules. Caring relationships are valued as the heart of the school community.
A Restorative School expects a high level of responsibility from students for behavior that causes harm to self or others.
A Restorative School treats students with respect and gives them a high level of compassionate support. Mutual respect fosters a healthy school environment where all can flourish.
A Restorative School treats conflicts as opportunities for growth and social emotional learning. Restorative practices result in fairness and healing without resort to punishment.