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March 2017 | Volume 59 | Number 3
The Path to Least Suspensions
For minor offenses, zero tolerance is out and making amends is in.
Donna Chewning noticed that one of her students seemed uncomfortable as she sat down to participate in a restorative circle at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. Suddenly, the student began to laugh uncontrollably, angering her peers.
The incident could have easily erupted into an argument and led to suspensions. But to Chewning, a certified mediator who leads restorative justice programs, the outburst provided a teaching opportunity. Over time, the other students came to understand that the girl was laughing out of nervousness, not mocking them, and she gradually gained control of her laughter.
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