“Our goal at Alternative High School (AHS) is to create a culture of caring, a place where everyone feels welcomed, supported and safe,” said Program Supervisor Adam Porter. The school has come a long way towards achieving that aim, and this year staff and students have a new tool: restorative justice.
“Our kids often have to deal with difficult social and emotional stressors related to obstacles outside of school,” said Porter. “One of our goals is to help students build their capacity to manage stressors in a more socially acceptable way. Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with problematic behavior that focuses on building relationships and repairing harm.” Restorative justice also provides a consistent process for interventions. Negative actions have consequences; in fact, students are held accountable to their peers and to the educational community. Students must find ways to make things right.
Porter said, “Our job as educators goes far beyond teaching academics. We teach our kids how to have healthy social and emotional lives; how to respect others and solve conflicts. What students learn here will help them to lead happy and productive lives long past high school.”