Gary Ricci, Restorative Practices Specialist
Ryan Khatcheressian, Restorative Practices Facilitator
LCPS Restorative Practices offers a continuum of services to promote a safe and inclusive environment for our students.
- Restorative language helps children understand how their behavior affects and impacts others while discouraging harmful behavior.
- Restorative circles create a culture of belonging and help build community and connection.
- Restorative conferencing provides an opportunity and process for students and families to resolve conflict and repair harm that has occurred.
The goal of restorative language is to have a proactive or responsive discussion regarding actions, behaviors, reactions, and impact. Rather than asking “Why did you do that?”, restorative language focuses on “What happened, and who is being affected by what’s happening?” Ultimately, using restorative language helps students understand their role and responsibility in moving forward in a positive way.
The goal of restorative circles is to give students an opportunity to build community and create connections with both peers and staff in the classroom. By making stronger connections to their classroom community, the less likely it is for students to engage in conflict.
The goal of restorative conferencing is to bring students and others involved in a conflict together to have a facilitated, structured conversation about what happened, who was affected and how, and what needs to happen to make things right or move forward in a positive way. Often, when issues occur between students, they are not given the chance to hear from the others involved in the conflict, especially how they may have been affected or impacted.
For a Restorative Conference process to begin, those who harmed or impacted others must first admit to their wrongdoing. Accordingly, RP facilitators may determine that an RP conference is not appropriate if there is a chance that additional harm may be done. During the restorative conferencing process, students have the opportunity to take responsibility for their behavior by addressing those they have harmed, and hear how their actions have affected others.
A fundamental part of the process allows students who have been harmed to have a voice, and speak to how they have been impacted. Additionally, they are empowered to speak their truth about what happened, and talk about what they need in order to make things right for them moving forward.
Parents or supporters that may be involved may also be invited to participate. In doing so, they also would have an opportunity to speak their truth about what happened, how they or their child has been impacted, and what might help moving forward.
Many times done in lieu of suspension, restorative conferencing gives students the opportunity to learn from the process without having their education interrupted.
Restorative conferencing is always a voluntary, confidential process that often involves a written agreement. Each participant has input into creating the agreement, with a focus on helping everyone involved move forward in a positive way.
How does a school make a referral?
A referral will be made by an administrator to the regional restorative practices team lead. The school's RP Lead will contact them within a day or two after receiving the referral to gather any other pertinent information. They will set up a time to meet with each student (and parent/guardian, if appropriate) separately for a pre-conference. The pre‐conference allows time for the process to be explained thoroughly, for questions to be asked/answered, and gives participants the chance to discuss the process in a confidential space. Once each party has pre‐conferenced and everyone is on board with moving forward, a formal conference is scheduled for everyone involved. This process from start to finish can take up to a week, possibly longer depending on everyone’s flexibility in scheduling.
Restorative Practices are based on four key principles: Respect, Responsibility, Repair, and Re‐ Integration.
“An emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities. The purpose of restorative practices is to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behavior, repair harm and restore relationships.” - International Institute of Restorative Practices