School-Based Restorative Hearings is a strategy to help resolve conflict in schools between students (and/or staff).The purpose of having restorative hearings is to give youth an opportunity to be heard and participate in finding solutions that will prevent problem issues from occurring. Restorative Hearings using the 5 Steps Project model is where students help each other argue for resolutions to school infractions. Restorative Hearings are not about proving guilt or innocence, it is more about repairing harm and deciding on a resolution collectively.
Students learn about fair process using a hands-on approach and restorative practices via Restorative Hearings. Students participate in a trial and assume various roles, including offending clients, attorneys, and jurors. An adult is usually the judge and helps to keep order. Cases are based on real-life student offenses in which out-of-school suspension would normally be the ending result. It is not necessarily about right and wrong, it is more about coming to an agreed upon and fair resolution based upon the facts and is an alternative to suspension.
Restorative Hearings are similar to a Youth Court, however School-Based Restorative Hearings using the 5 Steps Model is different from Youth Courts in 3 important ways…
Below are a few of the main (downloadable) forms used in the 5 Steps Project Model Restorative Hearings:
Restorative Hearing Model Documents