Building a Community of Trust
We believe that building a community of trust in schools and in our city is an important component of improving health outcomes. Improving community safety is one the focus areas of our community Building a Culture of Health: Blueprint for Action. Restorative practices (or restorative justice) is used to build a sense of school community and resolve conflict by repairing harm and restoring positive relationships. What unifies restorative justice programs is the twofold goal of building strong relationships among students, staff, teachers, administrators, and parents while creating safe, productive learning environments for all.
Restorative practices (or restorative justice) is used to build a sense of school community and resolve conflict by repairing harm and restoring positive relationships.
Paterson Education Fund (PEF), a key partner in the Passaic County Food Policy Council, looked at the data from Paterson Public Schools over the past three years and saw that there was a trend of students being suspended for minor infractions. For students to succeed in school, they need to be in school. We looked at other districts around the county that used restorative justice/practice to help students stay in school. Restorative justice seeks to fix the problem, impose fair punishment, foster understanding, and adjust student behavior.
A group of 20 participants including PEF staff and volunteers, five high school academies and two elementary schools participated in a two- day Restorative Justice training. At the end of the second day it was apparent that this was worthwhile and it was a good first step to help our district move forward, and important to help build a community of trust between the schools and community. With the superintendent of schools embracing the concept, we believe this will eventually be a district-wide initiative.
Children are able to learn and grow when they are in a safe and healthy environment.
For more information about the Building a Culture of Health: Blueprint for Action in Passaic County please contact Mary Celis, Director of Health Initiatives, United Way of Passaic County: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page: @PassaicFood.
For more information about Paterson Education Fund and their restorative justice work with schools please contact Rosie Grant, Executive Director, Paterson Education Fund: email@example.com