Restorative Justice Practices and Middle School African-American Males

Abstract Restorative Justice Practices and Middle School African American Males By Yacael Andrews Masters of Public Administration Public Sector Management and Leadership Program Research has shown that minority students, particularly African American males, have been subjected to exclusionary discipline practices of suspension and expulsion practices for more than 30 years. A trajectory of negativity has plagued the African American youth and continues to do so with school policies, such has as Zero Tolerance Policy. This paper will show that these policies have caused young males of color to disproportionately enter into a disruptive path of behavior, in turn leading them through a “School-To-Prison” pipeline. The disciplinary actions allow African American youth at risk for involvement in the juvenile system. Many middle schools struggle with ways to approach disciplinary practices that would eliminate harm place upon students. Restorative Justice is a non-punitive alternative being introduced into schools that demonstrates more positive outcomes for youth of color. The evidence shows that restorative justice demonstrates positive outcomes for school policy strategy in helping students stay on a positive path to excel in school. Restorative justice practices focuses on techniques use to reconcile and reintegrate youth back into the school and community by improving school culture. Those involved are taught strategies to resolve conflict and manage disruptive behaviors in a peaceful manner. Qualitative secondary data is used to examine the effectiveness of Restorative justice practices in middle schools. The research highlights the capability restorative practices has in decreasing the numbers of expulsions, suspension and office referrals. The data reveals by diminishing disparities, African American students show positive outcomes in reducing the odds that would lead them into the juvenile justice system.

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