I started to learn about RP seven years ago when it was introduced to the staff at Leland and Gray High School by our principal. I received training, first from the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, then from the International Institute of Restorative Practices. As soon as I could, I began to do the work at L&G.
As I engaged in the practice and began speaking to individuals who found themselves involved in conflicts with others, I made several discoveries:
We never really know the motives behind the actions of others.
Often, people who have gotten themselves in trouble have never had a chance to talk about why they did what they did, or anything about how they felt at the time or what they were thinking at the time. This means that every time there was an infraction and a subsequent punishment, it was never accompanied by any understanding of the root causes and nothing was put into place to prevent the same thing from happening over again.
Some people have never actually had anyone listen fully to what they have to say.
People would rather get along than be enemies.
Restorative practices can build relationships where there once was enmity.
Skills learned through RP can translate into a happier, more effective school/workplace/home.
Community members, once exposed to the possibility of learning RP, are clamoring for a chance to be trained and to put that training into practice.
Restorative practices and relationships cannot flourish in a school, if they are not understood and practiced at home and in the greater community.
Even the most hard-nosed skeptics , when exposed to thoughtful restorative practices,can appreciate their value and usefulness.
RCJSVT is conducting trainings in our community. Our capacity does not come close to meeting the need, both for trainings and for doing conflict resolution. We are at the point where we need to hire staff to develop that capacity, but we don’t have enough money raised yet to make the hire.
Please think about supporting us financially (we have installed a paypal button just for you), so that we can concentrate on continuing and expanding our restorative justice work rather than spending our time begging for money.