Restorative conferences lie at the deep end of the continuum of Restorative Practices. The Conferences or Harm Circles involve a specific process, with defined protocols, that focus on repairing broken relationships. They bring together those who have caused harm through their wrongdoing with those they have directly or indirectly harmed. These Conferences emerge from a whole-school culture focused on creating healthy relationships, empowering students and increasing student voice and connectedness through community-building circles. Restorative Conferences do not replace traditional discipline, but rest alongside it as an option that is right for some situations. Within a structured circle format, these conferences create a safe space for the one harmed to speak to the impact and what is needed to make things right. Those who have caused harm discover a learning process that involves a dialogue about what happened, self-reflection, moral growth, accountability and the chance to make restitution.
This workshop introduces the framework for effective Restorative Conferences including:
David Yusem is the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Oakland Unified School District, overseeing a district-wide staff of seven and Restorative Coordinators in more than 90 urban schools. He has trained thousands of educators in building connective school cultures, peacemaking circles and restorative conferences (harm circles).