SAN DIEGO–Advocates for Restorative Justice say the program can help keep young people in school or on the job – and out of the prison system.
Superintendent Cindy Marten agrees the program has the potential to help those students most at risk of serious discipline issues; however, she says restorative justice has the potential to help every student in the district by creating a more socially and emotionally welcoming environment.
With that in mind, Superintendent Marten, Tuesday, announced a significant and systemic emphasis on restorative justice in the coming year under the plan included in the district’s 2016-17 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Among those joining Superintendent Marten to make the announcement were: Steve Dinkin, President of the National Conflict Resolution Center; CJ Robinson, United Way of San Diego Community Impact Manager; the Rev. Rickey Laster, Executive Director of the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention; Board of Education President Mike McQuary; Lincoln High School teacher, Lori Williams; and student facilitator from Lincoln High School, Litzy Ramirez.
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is the guiding document for the San Diego Unified school district. It is developed over months of community input, including hundreds of parents, educators and other stakeholders. The 2016-17 LCAP and the 2016-17 budget are set to be approved by the Board of Education on Tuesday, June 28. The emphasis on restorative justice is one of the most significant changes to take effect in the coming school year under the LCAP document.
San Diego Unified has had a pilot program for restorative justice since 2014, and is now prepared to take the successful results to scale across the district. Among the main benefits of the pilot program have been a sharp reduction in suspensions and expulsions and a more positive climate in the schools where the restorative practices have been emphasized.