What We Do: School-Based Conflict Resolution
MCRC expands upon the already established School-Based Conflict Resolution programs in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). Utilizing circles as well as additional services within the Restorative Practices Program, MCRC offers to replace traditional methods of punishment with alternative forms of dispute resolution concentrating on five questions pertaining to what behavior and actions led the youth to a referral with MCRC in order to bring about lasting, tailored solutions to complex problems.
Restorative Reflection: A restorative reflection (RR) is a neutral, confidential, and voluntary process. It is an opportunity for a youth participant to be part of a guided discussion with two professionally trained volunteer facilitators and their parent(s) or guardian(s). The conversation focuses on reflecting back to a behavior and/or actions that led to their referral to MCRC for Restorative services. The facilitators do not take sides, blame, or place punishment. They help guide a conversation which addresses the five Restorative Questions listed below. RRs are scheduled for a two-hour time-frame and are scheduled seven days a week, morning, afternoon, or evening.
Restorative Dialogue: A restorative dialogue (RD) is a neutral, confidential, voluntary process. It is an opportunity for more than one youth participants to be part of a guided discussion with two professionally trained volunteer facilitators and both of their parent(s) or guardian(s). The dialogue among the youths and other participants focuses on reflecting back to the behaviors and actions of both of youths which led to the referral to MCRC for Restorative services. The facilitators do not take sides, blame, or place punishment. They help guide a conversation which addresses the five Restorative Questions, as well as additional victim/offender questions listed below. RDs are scheduled for a two-hour time-frame and are schduled seven days a week, morning, afternoon, or evening.
Five Restorative Questions
1. What Happened?
2. What Were You Thinking At The Time?
3. What Have You Thought About Since?
4. Who Has Been Affected By What Has Been Done?
5. What Do You Need To Do To Make Things Right?
Additional Restorative Questions for Victim/Offender in RDs
1. What Did You Think When You Realized What Had Happened?
2. What Impact Has This Incident Had On You And Others?
3. What Has been The Hardest Thing For You?
4. What Do You Think Needs To Happen To Make Things Right?
Not only does MCRC offer our well-known Restorative Practices Programs, but MCRC has been a strong proponent of school circles in Howard County for many many years. MCRC has liaisons setup throughout schools in the HCPSS to work hand-in-hand with the administration of their individually assigned schools to provide exceptional services. As more information comes out regarding how ineffective (and often harmful) punitive based methods can be in all levels of the education system, restorative based measures will only continue to be more important.
What is a school circle?
A circle is a form of restorative practices that can be used proactively, to develop relationships and build community or re-actively, to respond to wrongdoing, conflicts and problems. Circles give people an opportunity to speak and listen to one another in an atmosphere of safety, decorum and equality.
The circle process allows people to tell their stories and offer their own perspectives (Pranis, 2005). The circle has a wide variety of purposes: conflict resolution, healing, support, decision making, information exchange and relationship development. Circles offer an alternative to contemporary meeting processes that often rely on hierarchy, win-lose positioning and argument (Roca, Inc., n.d.).
For more information, visit the Institute for International Restorative Practices'(IIRP) website at https://www.iirp.edu/defining-restorative/5-2-circles
We HEAR…To HELP!
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM or by appointment
9770 Patuxent Woods Drive Suite 306
Columbia, MD 21046