RESTORATIVE ACTION IN ABBOTSFORD, BC
It was the vision of the founding ARJAA Board to have a program of Restorative Justice active in Abbotsford schools. The Restorative Action Project began in 2004 in two pilot sites: W. J. Mouat Secondary School and Abbotsford Middle School. It is now spreading to other schools, with training programs designed to equip administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents in the philosophies and practices of Restorative Action.
Restorative Action provides an alternative to suspensions, and gives school staff strategies for helping students resolve their conflicts in ways that restore peace and repair harm done. School administrators and Abbotsford Police Youth Squad officers also work together in situations involving high levels of harm, accessing ARJAA's Restorative Action teams to resolve the conflict, restore the damaged relationships and repair the harm done.
Students can also learn to become peer mediators, thereby increasing their own skills while also helping their fellow students.
Restorative Action is founded on respect, uses inclusive collaborative processes, focuses on harms and needs, addresses obligations, and involves stakeholders, affected parties and the school community. The goal is not to punish, but to put right what has gone wrong.
The development of Restorative Action results in safer, healthier school communities in which harms are meaningfully addressed for those who have been hurt, accompanied by new learning for all participants. This learning includes development of awareness, empathy and understanding; new skills, so wrongdoing and victimization won’t be repeated; and a new experience of handling conflict in a positive and productive way.
Restorative practices add to the skills, responses and interventions already being used by school personnel, while creating a restorative lens through which wrongdoing is viewed.