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Restorative Justice in Seventh Grade

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Recently, Sunny (the mother of one of our Seventh Grade Green students) was a guest speaker in her daughter's class. Sunny has a rich history in the criminal justice system and is an innovative reformer in the field. She is the founder of the SF Sheriff's Department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (working to implement restorative justice programs for incarcerated adults) and Five Keys Charter School. She shared about her work and her vision with the students. In addition to fielding questions from the students, she shared her thoughts on The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, which students have been studying in Math and Humanities class. The students asked questions such as "What does restorative justice look like when the parties involved have different socio-economic backgrounds?" A pivotal aspect of her presentation involved breaking down what and how restorative justice looks like. Restorative justice is "not getting off easily. It creates an obligation to make things right, it fosters offending accountability , the voice of survivors of violence, and it's a chance for offenders to be honest with themselves, which is hard work. It's self-work." The discussion wrapped up with a challenge for the students to look at forgiveness in their lives and consider the ripple effect they could initiate by engaging in restorative justice when conflicts or problems arise.