Regulating safe school communities: being responsive and restorative
This paper will introduce a whole-school approach to regulating safe school communities, based on principles of restorative justice. The idea is to move beyond regulatory formalism to a stance of response regulation, whereby the needs of the school community can be better met. The approach will incorporate a continuum of practices across three levels of regulation. The primary level of intervention targets all students, with an aim to develop students' social and emotional competencies, particularly in the area of conflict resolution. This first stage aims to enable students to resolve their differences in caring and respectful ways. The secondary level of practices involves a larger number of participants in the resolution of the conflict or concern, as the problem has become protracted or has involved (and affected) a larger number of people. The tertiary level of intervention involves the participation of an even wider cross-section of the school community, including parents, guardians, social workers, and others who have been affected. This intervention is typically used for serious incidents within the school, such as acts of serious violence. At each level, the processes involved are based on principles of restorative justice, such as inclusive and respectful dialogue. The aim is to build safe school communities through being more responsive and more restorative.
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