Just Schools: a whole school approach to Restorative Justice is a practical handbook that presents a whole school approach to repairing harm using a variety of means including peer mediation, circles, and restorative conferencing. The thesis of this book is that the key to successful teaching and learning is: working in an atmosphere where people care about each other, have good relationships, mutual respect, and a sense of belonging. The main argument is that when harmful behavior or conflict occurs the emphasis should be on repairing the damage caused to the relationship and on finding mutually acceptable ways forward. This mindset will hopefully change the way educators and members of the school community think, feel, and behave towards each other. The essential message of this book is that a ‘Just School’ “integrates restorative principles and practice into every policy, every lesson, every meeting, and every event in the school day (Hopkins, 2004, p13).”
Belinda Hopkins comes from a teaching background. She was the force of implementing Restorative Justice (RJ) in the UK. She is also a director and lead trainer of transforming conflict, a center for restorative justice in education (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).
Her teaching style was informed by a desire to create a democratic classroom, which is now called classroom conferencing (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).
Just Schools: a whole school approach to restorative justice is often addressing three questions that differ from the traditional route of blame which is: what happened? Who is to blame? And what is the appropriate response and possible punishment for those at fault? RJ answers the questions: What’s happened? Who has been affected or harmed? and how can everyone who has been affected be involved in repairing the harm?(Jessica Kingsley Publishers).
This resource book is separated into three parts: explains restorative justice, explores restorative justice and how to use them, and how to implement a whole school approach. Restorative justice is just as relevant to criminal justice workers as schools. The restorative process aims to make things right as possible after a behavior and a relationship is harmed.
Part 1: Introducing the vision, explained why creating an environment with mutual respect is a need and challenge in many schools. Creating opportunities in which everyone is involved and included can help build self-esteem (Hopkins, 2004, p.55). This section gave a few practical ways in which to begin exploring restorative values with staff at a school. It describes the how to run activities, which include the process and content of fundamental restorative values. (Hopkins, 2004, p.59). Restorative justice as it is explained in this book is about establishing ethos of care as well as an ethos of justice into a school. The next section will discuss how to develop the skills needed to build and repair relationships, suggest their...