Linden High School has been accepted into a three-year pilot program to expand restorative justice practices to help turn around student behavior and create a more positive culture for students and teachers.
Out of hundreds of applicants, LHS is one of just 15 schools statewide to be accepted into the program created by the New Jersey Department of Education and implemented by Kean University.
“We are very excited to participate in the Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program,” said LHS Principal Yelena Horré. “It is really in line with the goals that we have always set at Linden High School to create a more positive culture and to build a community that enriches and supports the kids. This program will help us to build a broad culture where we’re all pulling in the same direction.”
The restorative justice initiative is designed to assist schools in achieving the following goals:
- Reducing racial disparities in school discipline.
- Improving the socioemotional and behavioral responses of students through the use of more appropriate, and less punitive, interventions.
- Reducing recidivism rates among students who violate the school district code of conduct.
Superintendent of School Dr. Marnie Hazelton said the program is a great opportunity for LHS.
“It is so important to continue to examine our disciplinary practices and restorative justice a big part of that,” she said. “This program will assist our Linden High School educators in keeping students on the right path and ensuring that justice is handed out in an equitable and fair manner for all students.”
Mrs. Horré and school social worker Ryan Devaney will work with facilitators at Kean in Year 1 of the program to train LHS staff members. Year 2 will be for implementation of the program, and Year 3 will see further implementation, data analysis, and adaption.
“For students who are making mistakes or going down the wrong path, we want to bring them back onboard,” Horré said. “We want them to understand that they are not defined by the mistakes that they make. We want to allow everyone to reinvent themselves and give students and their teachers the tools to do that.”