Restorative Justice at MPA
At MPA, we utilize a restorative justice framework to handle conflict and to repair harm. Circles are conducted in all classrooms and we focus on restoring harm rather than punishment. Kyle McClerkins is the MPA Restorative Justice counselor and he manages a set of interns to lead circles, deescalate conflicts, and facilitate tough conversations between students. Through this internship students learn how to problem solve, bring back the peace, develop a sense of patience, and how to manage their own emotions when things get tough. These skills are applicable to everyday life because they require mature individuals to talk about their problems and emotions and remain neutral in situations that normally inflict judgment. By talking things out and dealing with a host of different conflicts, students navigate conversations and utilize different strategies to reflect. Restorative Justice is important because it helps students understand why conflicts happen, it is an altnerative to punishment, and it helps students recognize healthy ways to manage conflict.
Restorative Justice in the Community
Restorative Justice works to empower young people with the tools to solve their own conflicts. This year, high school leaders have been mentoring elementary school restorative justice leaders - We call them RJ Bigs and RJ Littles. We have been consistently partnering and training the Littles for over 2 months.
Additionally, MPA high school students partnered with Edna Brewer Middle School students to hold an interview panel for potential new Middle School RJ facilitators. Each student had to ask at least two questions to the students being interviewed. There were 75 applicants at Edna Brewer Middle School who wanted to be peer RJ leaders. MPA students interviewed 30 of those applicants. By supporting the Oakland community, we are ensuring that thoughtful and effective practices are being used throughout our community.