This website includes a LOT of writing and quotes about restorative justice (and sometimes transformative justice! More on that below). There are two important things to keep in mind about how we talk about restorative justice on this website.
First, this project grew from the shared understanding of our team that restorative justice is a holistic framework for being in community with each other, in and out of conflict. This includes how we respond to conflict and harm–with a focus on understanding root causes, addressing harm caused, and prevention, but it also prioritizes community building and healing. Far more than just an “alternative to suspension,” we see restorative justice as a set of values and practices that can shape broader school culture–and this website reflects this cultural approach.
Second, the driving force behind this project has always been to center youth, educator, and parent experiences of what restorative justice looks like and feels like when it’s ‘in the bones’ of a school. Our focus group participants self-identified as having experience with restorative justice or transformative justice in schools–meaning we relied on their definitions of these practices. As you read through this site, you might not agree with everyone’s ideas about restorative justice or transformative justice, and that’s okay! But keep in mind that folks are describing the specific community practices and commitments that they believe are important for building safe, restorative, and healing-centered school cultures–even if they fall outside of a ‘textbook definition’ of restorative justice–and they deserve to be taken seriously. Highlighting the common themes that were heard across our focus groups, the ten themes on this website help to paint the picture of what restorative justice and healing-centered schools can look like when it’s On Our Terms.