The Revolution That Restorative Detention Can Be

“This doesn’t look like any detention I ever seen!” Marcus says about the ring of chairs I’ve set up for our school’s daily in-school detention.

I welcome him to the group and ask him to take a seat.

“Welcome,” I say, “I am so happy that I get to work with you today. Today we will be discussing some topics, but really it’s an opportunity to practice our personal and social skills — skills that help us become successful in life!”

As a restorative justice (RJ) facilitator at a high school in the Bronx, the staff and I had the job of creating a detention program that would help reduce the need for out-of-school suspensions. The goal is to help so-called “at-risk” students identify and explore their intense emotions and challenging circumstances...