Beyond Circles and Conferences: Everyday Restorative Justice Practices in PK-12 Education

When: January 22, 2020, 4:30 – 6 p.m. EST
Guest: Kathy Evans
Host: Jonathan Swartz



Restorative justice in education (RJE) has the potential to promote a positive school culture that facilitates healthy relationships, strengthens learning and teaching, prevents challenging behaviors, and increases student motivation. In this webinar, we will consider school-based practices that align with restorative values and principles and that facilitate these types of restorative shifts in school culture. Attention will be given to everyday practices that promote relational pedagogies, justice and equity, and the transformational potential of conflict within relationships between and among students, faculty, staff, families, and the community. Further, RJE will be considered as an integrated approach, potentially linked to other school-based initiatives, rather than as an isolated program or intervention.  

Schools across the globe have been implementing restorative justice practices as a way to address disciplinary challenges and relational conflict. Such implementation has often resulted in a reduction in suspensions and expulsions and an increase in students’ ability to resolve conflicts. While this is a step in the right direction, viewing RJE solely as an alternative to school discipline ignores other issues related to school climate and culture, such as teacher burnout, family engagement, or student achievement. Additionally, limiting RJE practices to Circle processes or conferencing restricts the range of possibilities for transforming school culture. In this webinar, participants will acquire concrete suggestions for implementing everyday restorative justice practices that foster school climates that promote healing, responsibility, and learning. 

Guest Bio

Dr. Kathy EvansKathy Evans is an Associate Professor of Education at Eastern Mennonite University, teaching courses in educational psychology, special education, and restorative justice in education. Her research, teaching, and scholarship focus on ways in which educators participate in creating more just and equitable educational opportunities for all students, including those with disability labels, those who exhibit challenging behavior, and those who are marginalized for a variety of reasons, including race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

 During her eight years at EMU, Evans has helped develop EMU’s graduate program in Restorative Justice in Education (RJE), which supports educators as they create learning environments that promote relational approaches to teaching and learning, justice and equity in schools and classrooms, and transformational approaches to conflict and harm. She is the co-author of The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education and has published several articles and book chapters related to restorative justice in education, school culture and climate, and school discipline practices, focusing on the ways in which restorative justice is applied to educational contexts.