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Restorative Justice at Hoover

Restorative Justice at Hoover


One man named Adimu Madyun works to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline at Hoover Elementary in West Oakland. He does everything from breathing exercises to free-styling positive hip hop vibes. It's called restorative justice - reconciling techniques to de-escalate conflicts as an alternative to out-of-school suspensions. 

It's a major part of Oakland's push to stop suspending all students for minor offenses like talking back to teachers. Hoover incorporated restorative justice in 2016 - two years after California eliminated willful defiance suspensions for elementary school students. The elementary school took it a step further and did not suspend any students during the 2016-2017 school year. 

Restorative justice seems to be working to keep suspensions down in Oakland, but districts in nearby cities, like Richmond, are still suspending middle and high school students for minor offenses. Students for Education Reform is fighting to extend the state policy to high school, so older students in Richmond are protected, too. And California lawmakers hope to make that come true for all schools in the state this year.

Rachel Lloyd