Social Work and Restorative Justice: Implications for School System Practice

Michele V. Hamilton and Lesa Nitcy Hope

in Social Work and Restorative Justice

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394641
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863365 | DOI:
Social Work and Restorative Justice: Implications for School System Practice

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This chapter starts by pointing out a major contradiction in the current United States public school system. Ideally, schools are places where children acquire intellectual and social skills that support their capacity to develop. However, when behavioral problems occur, too often students are addressed from a deficit-based approach, and opportunities for them to learn from mistakes are lost. The chapter explores how peacemaking circles are used in schools as an innovative approach to assist students, faculty, families, and community members in addressing problems that arise in the school as well as creating new stories of hope, contribution, and inclusion for students in the school system. It points out that restorative processes are often used in extreme punishment scenarios such as in the case of expulsion, but the case study considered in the chapter focuses on a restorative process used in an ordinary and routine situation—miscommunication between a school staff member and student.

Keywords: peacemaking circle; restorative justice in schools; school social work; zero tolerance; expulsion

Chapter.  12715 words.  Illustrated.

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