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Student Engagement, Behavioral Health, and Academics

Restorative Justice

Creating and Maintaining Thriving School Communities

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a mindset and philosophy toward school climate and relationship building. Important components are:

  • Proactively and intentionally developing relationships and building community.
  • Restoring, repairing, or healing the school community when harm has occurred

The focus is on education, learning from mistakes, identifying and working on the root of the behavior, making deep-level change, repairing relationships, and restoring students and staff to the environment.

The Key Values of Restorative Justice include:

  • Nurturing healthy relationships built on trust
  • Fostering mutual respect between individuals
  • Feeling a sense of responsibility for your community
  • Repairing harm and transforming conflict
  • Reintegrating back to your community if harm has been caused
Restorative Justice

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Restorative Justice Practices

Listen to how restorative practices focus on relationships, responsibility, and accountability


Principles of Restorative Justice

We work together to foster the physical, social, psychological, and academic well-being of students, staff, and families through:

Community Building

Community Building

Building caring communities and healthy relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and responsibility

Self Care

Self Care

Learning to recognize and regulate our emotions, so we don’t cause harm to ourselves or others

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Recognizing when our words or actions have harmed others and taking steps to repair that harm

The state of Maryland passed House Bill 725 in 2019, which requires school systems to incorporate the use of restorative approaches. The majority of the work in Restorative Justice is preventative and proactive. Montgomery County Public Schools has worked diligently to incorporate restorative justice and restorative practices in all of our schools to better serve the needs of our students.

The MCPS Restorative Justice Unit will prepare and engage all stakeholders in restorative practices through meaningful trainings, school-level support, collegial collaboration, and supported community partnerships.

Restorative Justice Parent Workshops

Interactive workshops provide families with an overview of restorative justice practices and illustrate how they are successfully used in schools.


Restorative Justice in Action

In schools, Restorative Justice could look like…

  • Collaborating with students to create class norms that emphasize the values of respect, kindness, and responsibility
  • Holding class meetings or community circles to foster student relationships
  • Honoring and celebrating the cultures & identities of all members within the community
  • Empowering students through goal-setting, reflection, and student choice
  • Providing mindful moments, movement breaks, and access to calming spaces to help students reset throughout the day
  • Explicitly teaching strategies for recognizing and regulating emotions

When harm has occurred within a school community, Restorative Justice practices focus on repairing harm and rebuilding relationships through reflection; honest and open dialogue; and collaborative problem-solving.

In schools, this could be done with…

  • Restorative conversations
  • Healing circles
  • Written reflections
  • Mediations
  • Town hall discussions
  • Restorative lessons

There is a Restorative Justice Coach in each MCPS school to help implement restorative practices and approaches.  Additionally, each school is supported by a central office team of Restorative Justice Instructional Specialists, Well-Being Social Workers, and Mindfulness Educators.  Please click here to review the contacts for your school.

We also have a Canvas page of resources for MCPS families!  Click here to enroll.