Dear Restorative Justice: Our Student Isn’t Responding

What do you do when someone is obdurate and has no interest in taking responsibility or admitting any guilt at all?

This is a fairly common question and one that is quite broad. This concern highlights the frustration people can often experience when trying to impose a restorative justice system onto a school or institution instantaneously, without doing the necessary foundational legwork that supports the space and language of accountability.

Expecting a person to take accountability in a restorative conference after a harm has been committed, without an ecosystem of restorative practices already in place, will often fail to produce the desired success such as authentic understanding, remorse, accountability, agency and repair.

We also operate with a “rush rush, rush” lifestyle and work environment. Slow down, ask more questions prior to having hard conversations.

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