‘Restorative justice means that respectful relationships between people count.’
‘Ka aro te ha o te tangata.’ ‘Focus on the essence of the person not the action.’
Alfriston College embraces the restorative model of justice. This model views wrongdoing as an interpersonal conflict between the victim and the wrongdoer that needs to be addressed (Howard Zehr 1990). Therefore, our response to the wrongdoing must begin where the problem begins, within relationships. The central goal of restorative justice is the healing of the relationships damaged by the wrongdoing.
Restorative justice begins from a position of respect for those affected, including both the victim and the wrongdoer, and their communities of care (Whanau). The objective of the restorative justice process is to offer an opportunity for the wrongdoer to make amends on a variety of levels – victim, community, self – and in the process to restore relationships.
Restorative justice defines wrongdoing as a conflict between individuals in which their relationship is the point in question and the two parties (not a third party) determine what should happen to make amends or make it right.
The objective of the processes implemented at Alfriston College include building a peaceful community, where it is possible for people who are different from one another can live together harmoniously.
A Restorative School:
- Bravely takes on a new look at a traditional process of educating. Teachers see themselves as in relation with students and their parents, not as authorities over them.
- When disciplinary offences occur, the focus is on restoring order through restoring relationship rather than restoring authority.
- The mana of individual students is maintained and grown, and not dismissed.
- The school community is committed to the integrity of all its members.
- People speak respectfully of one another, including teachers, students and their families, recognizing that all families want success for their children.
- Teachers and students look forward to the challenges they meet at school.
- The voice of every student is heard rather than drowned by the noise of the loudest or weightiest.
- Excellence is sought in respectful relationship.
- Ensuring that everyone belongs in the school community is valued more than offering privileges to the few.
- Hospitality is extended to parents and visitors.
- The communities of care around the school and its students become very visible.
- Students learn that living in a complex community is not only possible, it can be enjoyable.
- There are significantly fewer referrals to the SLT for bad behaviour.
- School achievement soars.
- Peace breaks out.
- We remember what we are here for.
- Then centrality of judgement, deficit and failure is displaced by appreciation, alternative possibilities and hope.
- Issues are addressed rather than students punished.
Restorative Practices in Schools Project – School of Education, The University of Waikato