A recent article in The Bee (Jan. 12) cites the work being done in Los Angeles to reduce school suspensions. Readers should know that here in Fresno, great work is being done as well. As part of Fresno Building Healthy Communities, which is committed to improving the overall health of our residents, many students, families and other advocates successfully fought to have restorative justice programs operate at two Fresno Unified schools.
Restorative justice focuses on repairing the harm caused by misbehavior, getting students to take responsibility for their actions, keeping students in school and providing an overall healthier approach to discipline. It’s about conflict resolution instead of suspensions.
If a student isn’t in class, then that student probably isn’t learning. Suspensions and expulsions are bad for the student and bad for the community. Restorative justice works, and I would encourage Fresno Unified to make this a practice at each school.