MCS Activists attend Manhattan Restorative Justice School Visit

By Naomi

On the 28th of February, a few 5th floor students (Leilani, Daniel and Naomi) took a trip to the James Baldwin high school to a meeting of teachers and one other student, who were discussing how to fix problems between students without resorting to suspensions and expulsions. We sat in a circle and said our names, the schools or organizations we were from, and strengths and challenges in our schools. Then we proposed topics for small group discussions. A group that I suggested discussed how people often deal with situations differently based on the teen’s race or gender. We found out that a few public schools in the city have meetings between students who have conflict called fairness circles. There is usually another student mediating these fairness circles and they try to get the students to talk their problems out. We learned about the importance of communication and respect between students and teachers. At the end, all of us went around in a circle again and talked about what we learned from this meeting. Leilani gained an interest in the “core values” that many schools have throughout the city such as respect and honesty. Daniel said that he hadn’t realized how much teachers worked with each other and got together after class to figure out how to solve problems. I learned a lot about how other schools in New York work and deal with conflict between students and I noticed how lucky we are at MCS to have so much trust given to us by teachers and how we get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

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