Commentary on Madison East High School’s Restorative Justice Program

Elizabeth Beyer:

ast High School administrators hope to head off altercations between students well before they reach the type of brawl that happened last month by facilitating discussion between feuding parties.

The practice school administrators have begun to put in place, known as restorative justice, seeks to bring students together for a mediated discussion to solve their qualms.

Community members, such as Jennifer Conti, who attended a Saturday workshop on the topic, could take part in that process as mediators or advocates after a series of trainings led by the school’s restorative justice coordinator.

“I think (restorative justice and trauma-informed care) are both really important practices,” she said. “They’re crucial mindsets.”

More than a dozen parents, staff and community members gathered in East’s auditorium Saturday morning for a full day of restorative justice and trauma-informed response training. Saturday’s school-based training session was the second of two led by East’s restorative justice coordinator, Ericka Brown, following a series of high-profile fights connected to the school in recent months.