Board of Education Seeks Restorative Justice Plan To Strengthen School-Parent Relationships

LOS ANGELES (March 14, 2017) – The Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution today directing Superintendent Michelle King to work with District staff, community groups and labor partners to design a pilot program using Restorative Justice practices to help mediate conflicts with parents.

The resolution by Board Members Dr. Ref Rodriguez and Scott Schmerelson is designed to increase parent engagement through strategies that promote dialogue, and foster a positive school climate in which all parties are valued and heard.

It calls for creating a pilot program in which Local District staff and community representatives would be trained in restorative-justice practices, such as talking circles. They would also be available to mediate conflicts between schools and parents focused on achieving positive outcomes.

“Having meaningful and engaging relationships between schools and parents is essential to the academic success of L.A. Unified students,” Board Member Dr. Rodriguez said.

“Through this resolution, schools and parents would be able to use Restorative Justice as a tool to address tension and conflict in a way that strengthens relationships, sets high expectations while offering supports,” he said. “It ensures equity of voice among all members of the community where everyone is valued and everyone is heard.”

The resolution does not set a deadline for the superintendent to create the plan, though it requires the board to approve it before implementing the pilot.

“As a former principal who has always been a strong advocate for parent engagement, I welcome the opportunity for the board and the District to reaffirm our continuing commitment to empowering all parents and making every campus a welcoming haven for all families,” Board Member Schmerelson said.

Added Board Member Mónica García, “Restorative Justice is a model to heal and build stronger communities that include both students and adults. It is not punishment and has always been a strategy to proactively create environments for learning and tolerance through love.”

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241=6766

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