Show, Don’t Just Tell: Restorative Practices Learning Visits
We don’t just tell people about our work with restorative practices; we open our doors and invite them in. We welcome visitors to participate in circle, interview our students and staff, and engage in deep conversations about the lessons we’ve learned. On September 18th, Roosevelt, Gompers and Markham had visits from two school networks and several community partners eager to see our implementation of restorative practices in action.
Because of our partners at the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ), the specialists who have trained us in restorative justice, six teachers and leaders from various Green Dot schools visited Gompers and Roosevelt. They interviewed students, teachers and administrators about their experiences with restorative practices and participated in a community building circle with the students of Ms. Roxana Dueñas’ geography class. They left Roosevelt excited about beginning restorative practices at their schools, having now experienced it first-hand.
At Markham, Ms. Ayesha Brooks, physical education teacher, coordinated a visit with Fontana Unified, The Labor/Community Strategy Center, LA School Police (LASPD), and CCEJ. The Fontana Unified School Police Chief, Scott Mesa, and Associate Superintendent, Oscar Dueñas, wanted to learn more about the implementation of circle practice with students and the new LASPD citation and arrest policies that aim to decriminalize minor offenses. Zoe Rawson and Manuel Criollo of The Labor/Community Strategy Center’s Community Rights Campaign, which was a crucial organizing group in advocating for the passage of the School Climate Bill of Rights, had the opportunity to see trailblazing implementation of this resolution that calls for restorative justice in all LAUSD schools by 2020. Senior Officer John Gutierrez, Lt. Jose Lopez, and Officer William Etue of LASPD shared their vision and roll out of the revised citation and arrest procedures, aimed at reducing juvenile court involvement and increasing positive behavior interventions in school. All visitors participated in a community building circle with students, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
We are humbled that Green Dot, Fontana Unified, Community Rights Campaign, and LASPD visited our schools. We look forward to additional opportunities to learn with others as we work towards building more restorative communities.
Tanya Franklin is the Director of School Culture and Restorative Communities at the Partnership.