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Restorative Justice in U.S. Schools: Practitioners’ Perspectives

By Sarah Guckenburg, Nancy Hurley, Hannah Sutherland, Trevor Fronius, Anthony Petrosino


This research report, developed by researchers at the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center, focuses on how practitioners are integrating restorative justice (RJ) practices into their schools as an alternative to traditional responses to student misbehavior. The report covers how and when RJ is used in schools, and the successes and challenges schools face. The study findings are based on data from both a survey of and interviews with practitioners who are implementing RJ in schools.

Key Findings

  • Most respondents agreed that student discussion circles are the most frequently used component of an RJ program
  • Respondents indicated that one of the biggest successes of implementing an RJ approach is a large and rapid decrease in student suspensions and expulsions
  • Some of the most common challenges of RJ implementation include resistance from some administrators, staff, students, and parents; insufficient funding; and extensive training requirements

This report reflects only the opinions of the individuals surveyed and interviewed, and is not a representative sample of all possible RJ practitioners; the findings are therefore not applicable to all schools in the nation that are implementing RJ. However, the report can be used to inform schools that are researching and/or implementing RJ programs.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2016
Format: PDF
Pages: 39
Publisher: WestEd