The effects of using restorative justice in alternative education high schools
Improving student behavior is one of the most significant challenges schools face today. In an effort to improve student behavior and reduce suspension rates, many schools are adopting less punitive discipline programs based on the Restorative Justice principles that were established in the criminal justice system. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effectiveness of Restorative Justice in decreasing the number of suspensions in an alternative education high school setting. The study examined the total number of full and partial day, off-campus suspensions between students who attending an alternative education high school during the 2011–2012 academic year when a Restorative Justice program was not in place and the students who attended an alternative high school during the 2014–2015 academic year when a Restorative Justice program was in place. The hypotheses stated there would not be a significant difference in the reduction of full or partial day, off-campus suspensions. Through statistical analysis, this researcher discovered that the results of t-tests for independent samples indicated that there was a significant difference in the number of full days (p < .01) and partial days (p < .05) between students who attended when the Restorative Justice program was not in place and students who attended when the program was in place. There were significantly less full and partial day suspensions when the program was in place.