Explore how Drift Net Solutions promote restorative justice in the realm of school safety. Restorative justice aims to repair the harm caused by crime, violence, and oppression, extending its application to address all types of threats in educational settings.
You may have heard of the term “restorative justice” in the news recently. In conversations surrounding law enforcement, civil liberties, and community violence, restorative justice is an ideal that the public is beginning to wake up to. Restorative justice denotes the need to “repair” harm and victimization caused by crime, violence, and oppression in some perspectives. The obvious intersection into school community wellness is the restorative justice needed in the aftermath of violence on campus, particularly mass-scale gun violence. However, restorative justice is a necessary tenant of amending the damages done at school by all threats of all kinds, violent or otherwise. The potential for increasing wellness goes beyond conflict resolution alone. By integrating various assessments and emergency planning into the restorative justice framework, schools can proactively identify and address potential threats, mitigate risks, and support the overall well-being of students and faculty.
For instance, if a student on the National School Lunch Program has been routinely victimized by an older student for their foreign name, a threat management framework that takes restorative justice into account will recognize the older student’s behavior as a violation of the younger student as an individual, rather than a violation of a school code of conduct, law or rule. This could include considering their age disparity, the dynamics of the younger student’s poverty, the potential bigotry at play, or any other implication that reflects harm done to a victim’s identity, body, self-worth, or relationships. This would be resolved through carefully considered behavioral and mental health interventions for both the victim and the perpetrator.
As mental health gains recognition as a vital aspect of a community’s wellness, it's no longer solely about personal safety. Embracing a restorative justice approach to behavioral management and threat prevention takes into account the profound mental health implications of threatening incidents. By considering the emotional and psychological aspects, this approach aims to address the root causes of harmful behavior and foster healing and growth within the community.
Various assessments currently offered to schools do in fact utilize restorative justice practices in their process. Whether it’s making amends between two individuals, recognizing the unique circumstances of a school community, or finding resources for victims of violence, implementing Threat Assessments and Risk & Vulnerability Assessments provide a foundation for restorative justice to take place.
Threat management involves evaluating and managing potential risks to the safety and well-being of individuals within a school community. The principal element of managing threats is the Threat Assessment, which is the process of identifying threatening behavior, interviewing relevant parties, analyzing behavioral history, and responding to the threat. Drift Net’s Threat Assessment is designed to support unbiased, objective reporting from varying sources, targeting events that suggest future threatening behavior, rather than seeking retaliation for a previous action. Teams that facilitate effective threat assessments are “multidisciplinary” - the team will intrinsically yield multiple perspectives and ideas, resulting in disciplinary actions that are nuanced and fair.
Threat Assessments are not just a means of identifying the most effective measures to correct behavior, but it offers a multi-stage approach with multiple interventions for both the victim and perpetrator. Between the threat being reported, the investigation into behavioral history, interviews, threat classification, and a response, there is a litany of multidisciplinary stakeholders that intervene with both parties to further their understanding of the situation. By having a community of professionals involved in the threat assessment process, school leadership can promote open dialogues with students, parents, and staff, creating a supportive environment for individuals to voice concerns, seek help, and develop targeted interventions. This intersection of comprehensive assessing and restorative justice allows schools to identify and address the root causes of threats and inspire practical solutions derived from data, contextual information, and multiple perspectives.
Through the integration of Risk and Vulnerability assessments, restorative justice practices can help facilitate the development of targeted interventions and proactive measures. Risk and vulnerability assessments help schools identify potential areas of concern, such as physical safety risks or social vulnerabilities within the community. In the lens of restorative justice, these assessments allow for a comprehensive understanding of the factors contributing to risk and vulnerability within the school community. By engaging all stakeholders in the process, risk & vulnerability assessments provide opportunities for dialogue, empathy, and collaborative problem-solving. The restorative approach fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among students, staff, and parents, enabling them to actively participate in creating a safer and more inclusive environment. Alongside the restorative properties of the risk & vulnerability assessment process, successfully identifying risks and areas of concern will give school leadership the contextual data to justify funding programs and initiatives that promote safety and give victimized students the resources to heal.
Emergency planning involves organizing and preparing for responding to potential crises, such as natural disasters, hazards, or threats. This fosters the concept of restorative justice through its focus on open communication, collaboration, community building, and, above all, preparedness in handling the emotional, physical, and mental aftermath of a crisis. By incorporating restorative practices into emergency planning, schools can develop crisis response plans that prioritize the well-being and dignity of all individuals. Acting upon the emergency planning process not only ensures preparedness but also serves as a catalyst for fostering dialogue and emotional support during times of crisis, helping individuals process trauma and rebuild their sense of safety and connection. This integration ensures that emergency planning not only focuses on physical safety but also addresses the emotional and psychological needs of the school community, promoting overall wellness during times of adversity.
By recognizing the need to repair harm and victimization caused by different threats, Drift Net solutions’ preventative features extend the application of restorative justice beyond conflict resolution alone. Integrating various assessments and emergency planning into their framework, Drift Net enables proactive identification and mitigation of potential threats, fostering the overall well-being of students and faculty. With a focus on mental health implications and multidisciplinary approaches, their threat management and risk & vulnerability assessments promote unbiased and fair disciplinary actions, creating a safer and more inclusive environment where individuals can voice concerns, seek help, and heal. By incorporating restorative practices into emergency planning, Drift Net emphasizes open communication, collaboration, and community building, prioritizing the well-being of all members of the school community during times of adversity. By addressing the needs of students and faculty that are victimized and the context surrounding these incidents, school leadership can better prevent and triage the adverse effects of victimization, leading to a process that supports the tenants of restorative justice.