Welcome to Restorative Practices International,
a professional association
created by practitioners for practitioners.
As a network, our focus is on strengthening connections and a sense of belonging, and providing opportunities for growing our practice.
For the purposes of RPI, we use the term practice as a collective to encompass all fields of practice including but not limited to: policing, corrections, courts, juvenile justice, community, schools, families, environment, organisations and workplaces. As a social movement, intent on reform, we value the experience and wisdom of practitioners in these varying fields.
We support our members to deepen their awareness and integration of Restorative Practices to transform individuals and society.
2 hours ago
Annie came to our school as a six-year-old. She struggled with behaviors, making friends, and pretty much in all academic areas. Annie had been abused and neglected. She had seen so many bad things that we hope no child ever has to see. We had a very difficult time managing Annie’s behaviors. She used inappropriate language, she pushed and shoved, and she regularly eloped from the classroom and our school. Most of our strategies, interventions, and methods were not successful.After a while, we noticed that she had a real gift for making change. Nobody was sure how she picked up this skill, but she really was good at it. Our cafeteria staff recruited Annie to help with making change at breakfast before school. After a few weeks, she was promoted to coordinator of biscuit distribution (she used the large tongs to place a biscuit on each student’s tray). The cafeteria staff provided her with her own customized uniform consisting of a hair net, an apron that was about 10 sizes too big with her name on it, and a box of clear plastic gloves. After a month on the job, they allowed Annie to pick the radio station that they listened to while working. They quickly learned that beyond making change, Annie had some great dance moves and could really keep the beat. She became a full-fledged member of our cafeteria staff team.It didn’t take long for our school PTO/boosters to take notice of the kitchen star. One of the mom’s knew about Annie’s struggles and also about her ability to make change. They too recruited Annie. She was tasked with helping run the school store that was open during lunchtime. They relied on her change making abilities. The boosters made Annie a uniform too. It was a shirt that was bedazzled with the words “Annie, Honorary Booster Board Member”. Annie became the youngest member of the booster sorority.Annie’s negative behaviors reduced significantly. She was a totally different child in the most positive of ways. One day, she came to visit me in my office. Annie said that she was feeling something. I was worried that she was going to throw up, so I quickly ran to get my trashcan. She said that it didn’t feel like throwing up, it was something different. Annie said that it was a tingly feeling in her belly and in her chest. She also showed me lots of goosebumps on her arms. After a moment, I realized what Annie was feeling. It was love, kindness, pride, success, and hope. She had never felt these feelings before. Annie left my office and I started to tear up.It truly takes a village. Keep doing whatever it takes for kids! It is so worth it!Join us at the “Maslow Before Bloom” Facebook group: Facebook.com/groups/maslowbeforebloom. ... See MoreSee Less
6 hours ago
www.npr.org/2023/05/29/1178279383/for-black-drivers-a-police-officers-first-45-words-are-a-porten... ... See MoreSee Less
For Black drivers, a police officer's first 45 words are a portent of what's to comeA Black driver is more likely to face being searched, handcuffed, or arrested when a police officer's first words are commands rather than a greeting or an explanation.
1 day ago
There was a boy named JJ. He was very little when two of his siblings died in a fire. JJ survived but had severe asthma as a result of exposure to inhaling a great deal of smoke. Mom fell out of the picture and grannie raised him and his cousins. In reality, the streets raised JJ. JJ was an explorer and a “frequent flyer” to the counselor and assistant principal’s office. Some of these visits were due to disrupting the class and others were daily stops on his wandering around the building tour. There were times when he would look pre-occupied or deep in thought. When asked about it, he either could not articulate what he was thinking or said he’d rather not speak about it. As difficult as JJ’s behaviors could be in class, there was something very likeable about JJ. He was a salesman, negotiator, and finagler. JJ had great eye contact, a big smile, and an infectious laugh. The day before winter break, JJ was sent to the office for being extremely disrespectful to a substitute teacher. The assistant principal lectured him (probably yelled at him) and told him about how disappointed he was in JJ. The conversation went on to how many people were in JJ’s corner and how maybe JJ was just wasting their time if he wasn’t going to step up and do the right thing. JJ cried for the first time that anyone at school could remember. He promised that he would do better and that he was sorry for letting everyone down. Word spread through the building that the Assistant Principal “stuck it” to JJ. Several staff members stopped by the Assistant Principal’s office to give him a high five and to thank him for being tough on JJ. The assistant principal went home and felt proud of himself for making JJ cry and for teaching him a lesson. He then went on to enjoy winter break with his family, knowing that things would be different and easier with JJ when they returned in January. A few days later on Christmas day, I received a phone call from the head principal. JJ had a severe asthma attack and died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. If JJ was still alive, he would be 25 years old (the same age as my twin children).I went to JJ’s funeral. Grannie told stories about JJ as a baby, toddler, and as a child. She smiled and cried as she detailed memories of his mischief and also the many kind and thoughtful acts he did for his little sister. Grannie then talked about how much he liked his school, his friends, and playing kickball. This had been his third school and by far his favorite school. Grannie paused, surveyed the room, and looked me right in the eyes. She said that the person he loved the most and the one who cared most about him was Dr Bryan Pearlman - his assistant principal. I got up and left. I was crying uncontrollably. I got in my car and felt terrible. I felt like a fraud. I was the guy who yelled at him and made him cry. I would have given anything to have five more minutes with JJ. I would have apologized for my behavior and for making him cry. I would have promised him that I would learn more and do better moving forward. I would have told him about how much I enjoyed spending time with him (even though many of these discussions were in my office because he was sent there for making a poor choice). I would have told him about how amazing he was!Shame on me. I didn’t know anything about mental health or trauma. I suspended kids and really believed that they would come back with a better attitude and improved behaviors. I kept sending the same students home over and over and really expected a different outcome (this is the definition of insanity). This was particularly ineffective for students dealing with anxiety, depression, or trauma. JJ was my motivation to learn everything I could about mental health and trauma. He is the reason why I went back to school to get a Masters of Social Work degree (even though I swore that I was done with college after receiving my doctorate a few years prior). He is the reason I wrote two books. JJ is the reason why I have traveled the country sharing his story, my past mistakes, and everything I’ve learned about trauma, mental health, challenging behaviors, suspension alternatives, and problem solving.I have heard so many stories from others about students that have many office referrals and at the same time are some of the kindest and most likable students. Take some time to think about your own “JJ”. Think of one new thing you will try that may help the relationship and reduce the negative behaviors. You can also post information about your own “JJ” (anonymously if you like) on the “Maslow Before Bloom” Facebook group. We can brainstorm some ideas with the 19,000 other members who are all committed to help all kids to succeed in school and life:Facebook.com/groups/maslowbeforebloomI think of JJ every day. I miss him so much! Christmas is always the hardest time. I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. ... See MoreSee Less
2 days ago
One year, we had a number of students who were struggling with behaviors. This group of 25 students made up the majority of our school’s office referrals, suspensions, and classroom disruptions. We believed at the time that we had tried everything (and nothing worked). The consequences were not effective at changing the behaviors. Students were coming back from suspensions with worse behaviors than when they had left. We decided to try anything and everything possible. After running into a friend who was a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, we decided to start a morning martial arts intervention. We taught self-control, respect, being a part of a team, dealing with stress and negative emotions, taking responsibility for one’s choices, integrity, relaxation, and mindfulness. This intervention was extremely effective at improving attitudes and achievement. Within 4-6 weeks, the majority of negative behaviors and attitudes went away. Participants became model students and eventually school leaders. Many schools and districts reached out to learn more about this intervention (as word traveled fast). I told these other schools that I think the secret to our success was mostly as a result of attention given by trusted adults, positive interactions, teaching specific self-regulation skills, having a place to talk through challenging situations, and building a family. You can do this without a martial arts program, it could be just about anything. The important lesson was not WHAT we did, it was WHY we were doing it. Sometimes the more out of the box the thinking - the better!Thank you to Steve Berger and then Susie Wyatt for making this intervention a reality! We had some great times working together to help kids!Join the “Maslow Before Bloom” group:facebook.com/groups/maslowbeforebloom#maslowbeforebloom ... See MoreSee Less
4 days ago
When I was a building principal, we had a group of boys who were consistently getting office referrals during lunch for aggressive and disruptive behaviors. In the past, these behaviors had led to increasingly severe consequences that did not reduce the negative behaviors (and caused some students to be sent home and to miss instruction). I sat down with the group and we worked together to come up with a plan on what to do during lunch. One of the boys asked if we could start a knitting club, since his Auntie had recently taught him how to knit. Since he was a leader of the group, the other boys agreed. I asked them to come back tomorrow with some ideas of what to knit. The next day one of the boys said that he wanted to knit little hats for the preemies at the hospital, since his little cousin was there and that a nurse mentioned that they had run out of the little hats. The boys knitted daily and we delivered the hats to the hospital. We received many heartfelt thank you notes from families, nurses and doctors (and even an in-person visit with a personal thank you and cookies from a newborn's mom). This group continued to grow as did our ability to create knitted hats for preemies. This became a huge success for the participating students. There was significant improvement in the students’ behavior, attitude, achievement, and attendance. It is so important to think outside of the box for “win-win” solutions. It really isn’t the WHAT you do that is important, it is the WHY you are doing it! Our knitting group become a team, family, and community.#maslowbeforebloomJoin the Maslow Before Bloom (Education, Trauma & Mental Health) Facebook group. ... See MoreSee Less