In the News

Thoughts and Prayers - School Shooting, Parkland, FL

Our Deepest Condolences

Late yesterday, Valentine's Day (Feb. 14, 2018), we were all horrified to learn of another mass shooting incident at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.  We now know that 17 people - students and adults - were killed and many others injured and traumatized. Indirectly, the whole community has been traumatized.  The person responsible appears to have been a former student expelled from the school a year or two ago.

The loss of life and deep traumatization from such incidents represent personal tragedies of unimaginable proportions for families.  There will be lasting emotional and psychological impacts on survivors and the community as a whole.  It is heartbreaking.

NACRJ stands with the victims in Parkland, FL.  We extend our condolences and support for all those impacted and their families.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  We hope that you find some measure of comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this difficult time and place.

Based on news reports this shooting is the 18th episode since Jan. 1, 2018 - roughtly 45 days.  Other news reports suggest that over 240 such mass shootings have occured since the 2012 incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut where 26 people were killed, mostly elementary school students. The pattern of mass shooting incidents is not observed in other developed nations.  Which raises questions - Why in the US?  What can be done to prevent it?  It is clear we can and must do better.

Such incidents also call on us to consider how best to support and assist those harmed in meaningful and helpful ways as they seek to move forward in their lives.

Michael Gilbert, Ph. D., Executive Director

Senator Uses Talking Piece

104962243 AP 18023560307962 collins talking stick.530x298In order to create a greater mood of civility, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told CNN reporters that she had to use a "talking stick" to help her colleagues learn the value of waiting until it is their turn to speak during recent negotiations over immigration and funding the federal government. The beautifully beaded talking stick was given to Collins by her friend, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. It is originally from Africa and it is used to help control a debate in a meeting with lots of people and lots of emotional energy. Read more.

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (an NACRJ Institutional Member) at Eastern Mennonite University has invited Senators to traininng sessions on circle processes led by Kay Pranis. 

Kay Pranis is widely recognized as a leading expert on circle processes and the use of talking pieces to facilitate and control dialogue. Her "Circle Keeper's Handbook" is widely used by practitioners as a resource.

When suspensions weren't working, this high school opted for a new approach

The Washington Post

By Joe Heim August 23, 2016

Donnell Honesty TWP 8 23 16

Donnell Honesty, a student at Ballou High School in Southeast Washington, attends summer school at Ballou on July 17. Honesty went through the school’s restorative-justice program, which is changing the way discipline is handled at the school. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)
_________________________

Donnell Honesty can’t remember what the fight was about or even quite how it started.
He was a junior at D.C.’s Ballou High School in 2015 when another student stepped toward him in the school’s cafeteria. Within seconds, the two were trading punches.

Read more ...

After the Election - Ripple Effects in Schools

2016 Election RSD Cropped

 Since the election on November 8, 2016, we have received a number of emails from educators in elementary, middle school and high school regarding an increase in bullying, racial harassment and sexual harassment among students.  School staff are also observing expressions of anxiety and fear among students who wonder what the future of our nation holds for them.

As one of our members noted, "These stories are painful and this is a difficult time.  It is important that we maintain our principles so that hurts are processed in restorative ways."  In our view it is particularly important that educators address these issues in respectful and culturally sensitive ways that allow students to hear each others' stories and find understanding across racial, ethnic, cultural and class differences.

Attached are three documents that may help teachers address the harms and misunderstandings that children in their classrooms are experiencing at this time.

Dear Colleagues Letter - Department of Education, MN (Nov. 9, 2016)

Model Circle Process for Post Election Dialogue (UMOJA, Nov. 9, 2016)

Entry from the Teaching Tolearance Blog (Nov. 2, 2016)

We want to hear about your experiences with constructive responses to these issues.  If you are a member and wish to join a dialogue on this and other issues visit the Virtual Circle discussion forum on the NACRJ website. 

National Conferences

Our 6th NACRJ Conference was held in Oakland, CA on June 16-18, 2017 with three pre-conference training sessions on June 15, 2017.  We had 1,319 attendees, terrific keynote/plenary sessions and cultural performances, nearly 300 presentations, an awards ceremony, and a concert by "dead prez".  

Audio recordings of keynotes, interviews, photos and more can be found on the 2017 Conference page.

Check out past NACRJ Conferences in 2013, 2015, 2017 on the Conferences tab.

Planning for our 7th NACRJ Conference is progressinv nicely.  It will be in Denver, CO (June 14-16, 2019) with Pre-Conference Training Sessions on June 13, 2019.  Put it on your calendar.  We want to see you there.

In 2021, the 8th NACRJ Conference will be held in Chicago, IL.  We look forward to being in Chi-Town. 

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