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ERIC Number: EJ1082779
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1553-541X
Empathy, Equity, Empowerment: Using Restorative Practices to Build Character and Community While Reducing Suspensions
Martin, Christopher
Voices in Urban Education, v42 p14-18 2015
This article discusses how Christopher Martin, a middle school science teacher in Denver, Colorado, finds success using restorative approaches that focus on empathy rather than punitive zero-tolerance school discipline policies. Upon reflection of his first school's discipline policy, he realized that the school operated out of fear and compliance rather than trust, positive relationships, or a sense of community. After a few years, he began working for Denver Public Schools at Skinner Middle School, and he struggled to implement the school's restorative approaches to discipline his first year at the school. Realizing that restorative approaches were the means to achieving empathy and empowerment, he became fully invested in using them the following school year. Skinner Middle School has been identified by Denver Public Schools as a model for other schools to reference for best practices. All of the staff have been trained to use restorative approaches independently in their classrooms and throughout the building. The fidelity of this process is reinforced through role-play activities and the use of a prevention and intervention manual. Use of redirection, a pause or removal from the classroom, and the completion of a form consisting of questions designed to help students use empathy, think about what happened, and take responsibility for making things right, reinforce Skinner's mission of accountability to empathy. This approach can be highly effective in supporting and empowering students, and staff, to act with intention and empathy.
Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Brown University, Box 1985, Providence, RI, 02912. Tel: 401-863-7990; Fax: 401-863-1290; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A