Article #1-Restorative Discipline Makes a Huge Impact in Texas.docx

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AUGUST 25, 2016 • 10:34AMRestorative Discipline Makes Huge Impact in Texas Elementary and Middle SchoolsBY CINDY LONGTheft is a major offense — in or out of school — and students caught stealing usually face suspension or other tough discipline measures. But when a theft occurs in a school that has adopted restorative discipline practices, the outcome looks very different.Consider this scenario from a Dallas, Texas, middle school.A mobile phone goes missing during an all-female dance class. The owner of the phone reports the theft to her teacher, saying she suspects it was stolen in the locker room while the girls were changing. The teacher must then report the theft to administrators, but what happens next is what distinguishes restorative discipline from resorting to more severe consequences.Rather than searching out the suspect, assigning blame, and doling out a punishment, the teacher and an administrator gather all the girls in a circle to discuss what happened. Each girl speaks about how she felt sitting in a circle with a student who would steal from someone in their class. They shared what they’d like to say to that student, and what they thought the consequence should be if that person decided to return the phone.At the end of the circle discussion, the girl whose phone was stolen was asked if she’d like to add anything. She said she needed the phone because her parents work late and she meets her younger sister after school every day to walk home together. If anything goes wrong, the phone is the only way

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