by Tanya Franklin
Tanya Franklin is UCLA School of Law’s inaugural Education Law Public Service Fellow at MHAS.
Last week, our Restorative Justice (RJ) implementation team presented our progress and recommendations to the LAUSD Progressive Discipline Committee, chaired by Board Member Mónica García. Reflecting on our progress thus far, it’s clear that our community partners, our principals, our RJ Coordinators, our teachers, and most importantly, our scholars, exhibit a lot of pride in the restorative work being done at our schools.
Two students, or Visionary Leaders, as they’re called at Roosevelt High, had the opportunity to share their experiences with RJ and the resulting relationships that have been strengthened because of the work of the Roosevelt RJ Task Force. They described their role in creating campus-wide events, including the recently launched “Hope Campaign,” as well as a shift in their overall approach to relationships and restorative conversations. One of the students was recently profiled by another Roosevelt student in a thoughtful and creative RJ photo project, captured here.
In addition to hearing from our students, the committee heard from our principal at Gompers Middle School. She encouraged the District to deeply consider investing the important resources of time and money into our programs to support training for all school staff and hiring an on-site RJ Coordinators. Each of our RJ Coordinators spoke about different aspects of their work, including coaching teachers to improve classroom climate, facilitating harm circles when incidents have occurred, and preventing future conflicts with restorative dialogue. The RJ Coordinator from Markham Middle School, who guest blogged a few weeks ago, shared an impactful story of how circle prevented not only one fight at school but also prevented a second fight with other parties in the community.
I was proud we could share our progress with the Committee, and I’m even more grateful to be collaborating with such an amazing group of scholars and professionals working at our three school sites, the Partnership, CCEJ, and so many community groups and coalitions.