Undoing the Harm of Problematic School Policies: How Restorative Practices can disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline
One of the greatest factors affecting student academic success in our American K-12 public schools are traditional school disciplinary policies that exclude students from the classroom. Excluding students from the classroom by means of suspensions or expulsions is the largest contributing factor to students entering the school to prison pipeline. The school to prison pipeline is a phenomenon where primarily students of color are removed from educational institutions into the criminal justice system. Restorative practices are an alternative to these punitive disciplinary practices that have the potential to keep students in school. By using specific language, circles, and conferences, restorative practices aims to restore relationships and repair harm to all parties involved in a conflict. My project, “School, Interrupted” podcast, aims to share the knowledge I have learned through my literature review and my interviews with seven individuals engaged in the juvenile justice system, the Academy, and K-12 public schools. The podcast is informational and aimed at educating administrators, educators, parents, and students about the possibilities that restorative practices in their schools have on changing school culture and student academic success.