Restorative Justice Working in Oakland Schools

Currently 27 schools in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) use the Restorative Justice approach.  According to officials from OUSD, there has been a drop in suspensions, chronic absenteeism, and an increase in graduation rates.  OUSD will be expanding the use of the Restorative Justice model to all 86 schools in the district.

 

“These positive impacts speak to the need to accelerate the programs in the next five years,” said Oakland schools Superintendent, Antwan Wilson.  “Restorative justice gives students a voice, to be seen as individuals who can problem-solve and understand the circumstances that impacted another person’s feelings.”  In schools that have the programs, suspensions dropped by more than half over three years starting in 2011, from 34 percent to 14 percent, according to a new district report.

 

Graduation rates increased 60 percent at high schools with the programs, compared to 7 percent at schools without them, and chronic absenteeism dropped 24 percent at middle schools with the programs, compared to a 62 percent increase at those middle schools that didn’t have them.  Having a Restorative Justice program in a school increases student engagement, brings in a more positive social environment, and teaches problem-solving, all of which contribute to the better academic results said Data In Action founder, Sonia Jain-Aghi, who helped compile the recently released report.  San Jose Mercury News