The newest push at the Chicago Public Schools and the city council is to have something called "Restorative Justice" in the schools. Talk of peer juries and peace circles are in the air. Wow! What a switch from "zero tolerance". Why the change? It's said, too many students are getting into trouble, getting detentions, being suspended and expelled. So now the city council, who needs to have oversight themselves, are sticking their collective noses into the school's business telling them they want a 40% decrease in suspensions and expulsions. Of course, if there is any money attached to this, the numbers will definitely decline. The behavior within the schools will most likely get worse because students know there is little to no consequence, but the numbers will look great on paper!
I looked up the words "restorative" and "justice" in the dictionary just because the title of this latest fad doesn't sit well with me. As we all know, to restore means to 'bring back to an original state' and justice is 'fairness, the moral principal determining right conduct, and the administering of deserved punishment or reward'. So, if we actually put this together "bringing back to an original state of administering a deserved punishment or reward determined by moral principles of right conduct" the schools might actually be able to have an impact. But other words come to mind with this too like responsibility, respect, obedience, and self-control...and, of course, if this isn't being taught in the homes, the schools have no hope of ever having an impact anyway!