KPR believes that everyone has the right:
- to be safe
- to feel safe, welcome and included at school, and,
- to be treated with respect, dignity and humanity.
We believe everyone in our school community plays a part in achieving these goals. Restorative practice offers an effective approach to teaching, learning and keeping schools safe. It is a way of thinking and acting as a community. It focuses on strengthening relationships, to deal with conflict or tension positively.
Restorative practice is firm and fair, seeking answers to specific questions to identify what happened when things go wrong between individuals, and to build positive responses. Schools using restorative practice report a safer learning environment where students are more connected to one another and to staff, and where they are free to focus on improving achievement. KPR schools have used it successfully to prevent or respond early to issues such as bullying or cyberbullying, before they reach the problem stage.
Restorative practice reflects the approach used by the Aboriginal peoples of North America, the Maori of New Zealand, and the peoples of Japan and Africa. The Canadian judicial system started referring victims and offenders to mediation through restorative justice in the 1970s. Since then, its use has spread. The illustration below shows how it may be applied in different situations.
In schools, restorative practice may include peer mediation, with older students helping younger ones to solve problems; informal classroom circles, with teachers and students discussing and resolving concerns; and more formal family group conferencing, where students who have caused harm are held accountable for the effects of their actions. Restorative conferences allow the victim to have a say in how the harm should be repaired, and encourage the person who caused the harm to take responsibility and “make it right”.