Persell has been changing our approach to discipline for the past few years. Traditionally, when a student misbehaved, the typical way most of us grew up with was to use a punishment to correct behavior. We do not believe that is the best approach. At Persell, we feel that merely punishing a student will not get the desired effect but that teaching students how to behave is a better approach. When a student doesn't know how to read, we teach them to read. When a child doesn't know how to swim, we teach them how to swim. When a student doesn't know how to behave, generally we punish them. Would we punish a student that doesn't know how to read or swim? The answer is, of course not.
So that is the reason we have moved toward a more Restorative approach to discipline. Students may still receive a consequence but our goal is to teach students how to behave so the issue doesn't occur again. It is also important for a student to restore the relationship with the person they offended through conversation to truly solve the problem.
In a Restorative Environment, building relationships with students and staff is critically important. This year during homerooms, students and staff will begin what we call Community Building Circles. These circles will allow students to discuss how they are feeling, problems they are having, great things going on in their lives etc. The bottom line is that by running Community Building Circles, relationships are formed with students and adults that foster trust and can alert an adult of issues a student may be having that can be dealt with proactively.
Please watch the video above to give you a better idea of what Restorative Practices are and what looks like. Also, please feel free to contact Dr. McElrath or Mrs. Thompson if you have any questions about this and what it looks like here at Persell.