This was written in response to Paul Bruno’s, This Week in Education blog ‘Restorative Justice’ V. PSIS: http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2012/11/bruno-the-perils-of-restorative-justice.html

Thank you for expressing your opinion on this Mr. Bruno. As suggested by some, and I agree, restorative justice and positive behavior support approaches are consistent and compliment each other.

Instead of framing this as: “’Restorative Justice’ Vs. PBIS,” I suggest: Restorative Justice for Positive Behavior Support or PBIS. Kris Miner also wrote a blog 2 years ago: School-based Restorative Justice in PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports): http://circle-space.org/2010/12/08/school-based-restorative-justice-is-pbis-positive-behavioral-interventions-supports/.

Both restorative justice (RJ) and positive behavior support (PBIS) use public health principals for addressing wrongdoing and harm. In fact my blog developed in 2008 is based on the idea that restorative justice is a public health approach: http://www.lorennwalker.com/blog/.

Public health developed and has used the three levels of prevention known as primary, secondary and tertiary to address disease for decades. A public health approach is often suggested for violence prevention http://www.vetoviolence.org/basics-primary-prevention.html. PBIS also seeks to prevent harm and promote good student behavior using the three prevention levels first described in public health http://www.scribd.com/doc/27069628/Handbook-of-Positive-Bahavior-Support.

Kris Miner developed a helpful one page paper on how the primary, secondary and tertiary levels apply to restorative justice for bullying that can be downloaded from her above mentioned blog.

Many throughout the world including Hawai’i, Hull, England, Washington D.C. at the Columbia Heights Collaborative, have been using a solution-focused approach, which is an example of a PBS application, with restorative justice. Both RJ and solution-focused approaches compliment each other http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Journal-Instructional-Psychology/289619985.html

RJ addresses how harm can be repaired, which helps prevent furture harm, and a school using PBIS can use RJ as an intervention when misbehavior occurs.

Learning to facilitate circles for addressing conflict is something most teachers can learn. In the Montessori method of education, over 100 years old, circles for group learning are an important process for beginning each school day. And according to Peter Senge, organizational management expert, “no indigenous culture has yet been found that does not have the practice of sitting in a circle and talking” (Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together, Isaaccs). Even our modern Western cultures have a history of individuals meeting in groups personally to deal with conflicts, instead of courtrooms with professionals speaking for us (Van Ness & Braithwaite). Circles are a natural human process.

Thank you again for your column. Hopefully all our efforts and further communication and learning will lead to more peaceful schools and happier people.