Jeffco Public Schools is investing more resources in so-called restorative practices as an alternative to suspensions, part of a broader reexamination of student discipline practices.
The district, under the leadership of a new director of discipline, has expanded training of teachers and administrators and is considering other policy changes, officials said.
“Moving forward with restorative practices and other alternatives to suspension are going to be a priority for us,” said Jen Gallegos, who became Jeffco’s head of student discipline about a month ago. “Right now it’s not a systemic practice in Jeffco.”
A practice that has gained momentum nationally, restorative justice shifts the focus of discipline from punishment to learning and personal growth. It provides school administrators a blueprint for leading discussions between people, usually two, in conflict. The goal is to help the two people, students or adults, understand the effect of their actions and to commit to solutions together.
Districts like Denver Public Schools — where Gallegos previously worked — have led in the use of restorative justice as a way to help decrease student suspensions, expulsions and referrals to police while also improving student behavior.
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