Practicing Restorative Justice
Real Solutions to Address Racism in Our Classrooms Using Anti-Racist Strategies
Published: July 2024
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Published: July 2024

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Published: July 2024
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6" x 9"
Language: English

Traditionally, educator preparation programs only provide classes related to content, practical pedagogy, and classroom management. If we hope to see any level of justice in the education system, preparation programs must include courses that take an honest and deep dive into the ways in which racism shows up in schools and communities. Aspiring educators are craving and demanding the tools and resources to be the best educators they can be for our students in this country. They know the importance of advocating for and enacting anti-racism in their pedagogical practices, in school policy and culture, and in their community. The authors of this book will offer first-hand testimony of how deep racism permeates public education, an institution that, since its founding, was never meant for Black and brown students, as well as solutions to create truly just and equitable school communities.

The ultimate mission of Practicing Restorative Justice is to show readers the effectiveness of restorative justice practices in addressing a number of issues that impact Black and brown students. It takes a deep dive into the School-to-Prison Pipeline, in which failed education policies push students of color out of schools and into the penal system, dooming them for life. Other topics include policing in schools, systemic racism’s impact on classrooms and learners at all grade levels, and ways in which to decolonize the education system. The book provides classroom instructors, college of education faculty, and preservice teachers the concrete means to improve the learning experience of students of color in our public education system.

Table of Contents:

Land Acknowledgment
Erika Strauss Chavarria

Yesenie Cano

Two Words
Gabriel Tanglao

If You Teach, Then Teach
Keandre Chappell

Erika Strauss Chavarria

Part 1: Framing the Problem

1. How Racism Manifests in Schools: From the Data & Beyond
Erika Strauss Chavarria

2. Framing the History of Police in Schools
Maria Fernandez

3. The School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Parent’s Perspective
Zakiya Sankara-Jabar (An Interview with Erika Strauss Chavarria)

Part 2: Addressing the Problem, Offering Solutions
Part 2A: Restorative Justice in Action in Schools and Communities

4. Ho‘ina ka Pono: Restoring Relationships to a Valuable Balance
A. Ka’ehukai Burley

5. Restorative Justice Overview and Implementation in School Communities
Dwanna Nicole and Dr. Kevin Gilbert

6. Restorative Justice Through Empathy and Respect
Dr. Wesley Montoya, PhD

7. Restorative Justice: One Teacher’s Perspective
Erika Strauss Chavarria

8. Administrators as Leaders in Restorative Justice
Matthew Vaughn-Smith

9. Black Lives Matter Paterson and Restorative Justice in Action: #communityisaverb
Zellie Imani

10. Columbia Community Care: The Power of Mutual Aid, Restorative Justice, and Partnerships
Erika Strauss Chavarria

Part 2B: Decolonizing Education: Justice-Driven Pedagogy, Practice, and Professional Learning

11. You Can’t Bake a Cake in a Hurricane: Building Expertise in a High-Pressure Environment
Cristina Duncan Evans

12. A Framework for True Equity in Schools: The Awakening of Critical Consciousness and the Pursuit of Liberation
Charlotte Lartey

13. Decolonizing and Providing a Just Education to Indigenous Students and Those with Disabilities
Winter Marshall-Allen

14. Making Black Lives Matter in the Early Years: Centering Anti-Racist Approaches in
Early Childhood Education and Care
Dr. Denisha Jones

15. The NEA, Safe, Just, and Equitable Schools, and What We Need to Know to Build a Vision
Sobia Sheikh

16. Anti-Racism for White Educators
Terry Jess and Lucas Michener

Part 2C: Organizing for Racial Justice, Police-Free Schools, and Restorative Justice

17. Community-Led Grassroots Organizing and Youth-Centered Advocacy: An Interview with Erika Strauss Chavarria
Zakiya Sankara-Jabar

18. Organizing for Police-Free Schools: A Maryland Story
Jessica I. Nichols and Matthew Vaughn-Smith

Part 2D: Healing-Centered Practices

19. The Peace Room
Anjole Seawood-Wright

20. When They Come for You: Leaning into Community Care in the Face of Backlash
Jessyca Mathews, Lucas Michener, Chelsie Acosta, Charlotte Lartey, and Terry Jess (An Interview with Erika Strauss Chavarria; Based on a Presentation at the 2021 NEA Conference on Racial and Social Justice)



NOTE: Table of Contents subject to change up until publication date.

Reviews & Endorsements:

“As someone who has lived through being wrongfully accused and incarcerated as a child, this book strongly resonated with me. I particularly appreciate that it not only discusses the over-criminalization of young people, school pushout, and incarceration of children and young people, but also on solutions to those harsh realities. Students deserve safe, affirming and culturally sensitive educational environments where kids can be kids instead of being criminalized for age appropriate behavior. This book is a must read for every single aspiring educator so that they are better prepared to break the cycle of harm and racism that exist in school communities and in the education system.”

Raymond Santana, Exonerated Five

Practicing Restorative Justice is a book that offers a compassionate and compelling approach for Aspiring Educators who wish to understand and dismantle structural racism in the US education system. The book presents a diverse range of voices and perspectives, clarifying the underlying values and practical methods for implementing genuine restorative justice practices. As such, it provides an important contribution to literature for those who seek to change education, from a tool of oppression and discrimination to a tool of liberation. This book is an excellent resource for Aspiring Educators and education justice organizers alike.”

Dmitri Holtzman, Education Justice and Youth organizer; Senior Fellow at Race Forward and Founder of Earthseed International

“An inspiring and practical resource, this book offers a comprehensive perspective on the transformative power of restorative justice in education. Grounded in concrete examples, compelling stories, and insightful data, it equips aspiring educators and administrators with the tools to dismantle punitive culture, and center deep relationships instead. A must-read read for all in the field of education.”

Cierra Kaler-Jones, Executive Director, Rethinking Schools

Practicing Restorative Justice: Real Solutions to Address Racism in Our School Communities Using Anti-Racist Strategies offers tangible actions to address the pervasive issue of racism in classrooms across the country. Through the contributions of several insightful educators, this groundbreaking work navigates the intersection of restorative justice and anti-racism, providing actionable strategies for dismantling systemic racism within school environments and in the larger society. By emphasizing accountability, healing, and community building, this book empowers educators to create inclusive and equitable learning spaces where every student feels valued and supported. With a keen focus on restorative justice principles and anti-racist frameworks, Practicing Restorative Justice serves as a roadmap for meaningful change, inspiring a culture of respect, understanding, and belonging in our schools nationwide.”

Ismael Jimenez M.Ed., Director of Social Studies Curriculum, The School District of Philadelphia Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

“A powerful book that rightly conceptualizes restorative justice as a praxis that seeks to broadly rethink education for a transformative future. Although focused on aspiring educators, it is a book for anyone wrestling with the question: what is to be done?”

Dr. Ricardo Rosa, Director of Training & Professional Learning, Massachusetts Teachers Association

Practicing Restorative Justice is a masterpiece! Practicing restorative justice in American schools must involve Indigenous, Black, White, Asian, Latinx, Middle-Easterners, and all others understanding that we have all been socialized to affirm, serve, and uphold White supremacy, anti-non-Whiteness, and anti-Blackness. This means that the mere reality of educating our students using the Eurocentric English language perpetuates forced assimilation and dehumanization. Training Black children in subjects that only teach them how to serve worldwide White supremacy, modern-day White American plantation owners and capitalist who control and oversee America’s tech plantations, government, and all big business industries, is an insult to the humanity and spirits of Black children. Instead, we must focus on the liberation of our children’s minds, hearts, and bodies. This can only occur through learner-centered education, which focuses on the histories of African people outside of colonized conceptualizations and prisms which continue in service to Black dehumanization, while simultaneously legitimizing white psychopathology and delusion. We must inspire African American children to learn, and this means they should learn about the history of African/African-American people from African/African American people, similar to how White people have opportunities to learn about White people from predominantly White people. Black children must fully understand who they are in order for this reality to flourish. They must understand who African people were before contact with European people nations. Black children must understand who and what African people became after contact with European White people. If we do not
educate and empower African American children in ways that boost their self-esteem and validate their experiences in America, the American education industrial complex will continue to exploit them, ultimately resulting in the genocide of the Black race. As we reform our ideals, beliefs, and ideas about education, we must also redesign educational models. White people learning about the accurate history of whiteness in America, is at the root of this reformation, along with establishing a meaningful understanding about the infinite ways whiteness has been and continues to be weaponized across all American institutions. Without taking these critical steps, along with other steps highlighted throughout this book, America dooms Black children. Practicing Restorative Justice provides educators, students, parents and larger society a profound learner-centered educational justice roadmap. A landscape built upon justice-centered strategies, practices, and reimagining the reality of prioritizing human beings rather than White American institutions and egos. The authors and editors of this book have produced a most masterful work that educators should embrace everywhere across America.”

Dante D. King, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Owner/CEO, Dante King Consulting & King of Kings Consulting, LLC

“In Practicing Restorative Justice, Erika Chavarria and the authors of this outstanding edited volume, provide research that cultivates the much needed consciousness (mindset) and competence (skillset) to transform schools and society. This book is a must for serious educators and leaders to understand and implement restorative practices.”

Chike Akua, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Clark Atlanta University, Author of "Education for Transformation: The Keys to Releasing the Genius of African American Students"