When it comes to student discipline, educators have used various methods dating back to the beginning of education itself. Your grandparents likely have stories of their own, and we’ll just say that things have changed a lot since then.
At STEM School Highlands Ranch, Amie McElroy, STEM’s Dean of Students, applies something called ‘Restorative Practices,’ which has also been called ‘Restorative Justice.’
“Restorative Justice originally comes from the criminal justice system, and in that sense, it’s the offender’s way to repair and restore a relationship with victims, and it’s a way for victims to repair and restore their relationships,” McElroy said. “In education, Restorative Justice is more about community building and relationship building within the school, and it allows students to take responsibility for their behaviors and their actions.”
STEM prefers to use the term, ‘Restorative Practices,’ due to how it is applied.
“I just like to use the term Restorative Practices in education because it’s really all about the practices we use within a school to build community,” McElroy pointed out.
McElroy says that her entire role at STEM has to do with ‘Restorative Practices.’
“I support teachers by providing training, going into their classrooms giving them tips and ideas on how to implement Restorative Practices in their classroom,” McElroy said. “Also, I’m directly involved when students misbehave. One of the really big misconceptions about Restorative Practices is there are no consequences when students misbehave. This is 100 percent false. It’s just that the consequences look different. I am directly involved with kind of restoring the relationships when students misbehave, both with their teachers and their peers. I’m also involved in pulling together students for circles to help with that community building. So, ‘Restorative Practices’ is really what I do on a day to day here at STEM.”
To see McElroy’s full interview about ‘Restorative Practices’ at STEM, click the video below.