The government goes back and forth all the timeon the topic of punishment, which is between a rehabilitation system and apunitive system. There are some that want it to become a rehabilitation system,but because of the way the criminal justice system is in the United States, a punitivesystem always wins. This topic has finally been coming to light in theeducation system the last few years.
A big issue that schools in the UnitedStates face is how to deal with student misconduct. Currently in the UnitedState, misconduct is treated in punitive ways. The existing policy in schoolsall over the United States is zero tolerance.
This way is not beneficial forall the parties involved because it leads to more students being suspended orexpelled from school. Suspensions and expulsions have negative affects onstudents which can include: decline in academics, fighting, using drugs,joining gangs, and even dropping out of school. Some schools are starting to goaway from the punitive approach to restorative justice. Instead of justfocusing on the punishment for an individual of school misconduct, restorativejustice is a process of healing through the use of non-punitive strategies toright wrongs and restore the peace.
Restorative justice philosophies places anemphasis on student accountability, repairing harm done, respect for others,and restoration of the school community. It also allows the victims voice to beheard by bringing together the victim and those affected, the student whocreated the misconduct, and teachers. Restorative justice acknowledges the actwas harmful and builds support for both the offender and the victim.
It givesthem the chance to tell their viewpoints of the incident and lets them worktogether to repair the harm done. This paper will further explore the idea ofrestorative justice in school through critical theory models, the Americanjustice system over the last 150 years, and how restorative justice can helpfind a solution of racial, gender, class inequalities.