NYC Council Allocates $2.4 million for Restorative Justice
We commend City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Education Chair Daniel Dromm, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and the City Council for their commitment to justice in school discipline. By allocating $2.4 million for Restorative Justice the City Council is leading the way in ending discriminatory school discipline policies and practices. Restorative Justice is a school-wide approach to building safe and supportive school communities that focuses on repairing harm, rebuilding relationships, and collectively holding students and adults accountable for their actions. This initiative will support students and educators in ensuring a positive and fair approach to school discipline.
The disparities that exist in discipline referrals for Black, Latina/o, LGBT, and non gender conforming students are indicative of racial and gender injustice being unchallenged in school policies. Black and Latina/o students have fought and struggled for our voices to be heard and today is a day we have been heard, loud and clear. The City Council’s investment in Restorative Justice is an investment in creating and sustaining safe and supportive school communities through trauma informed practices that keep us in class and move away from over policing youth in school.
Future of Tomorrow and Urban Youth Collaborative Youth Leader Onyx Walker remarked, “In my high school, we had a peer mediation program a few years ago. A teacher volunteered to run it with student leaders, but shortly after it started, it had to stop because she didn’t have enough time. Investing in Restorative Justice would allow a school like mine to hire Restorative Justice Coordinators so we can bring that program back and create new programs.”
“For too many us, school is still an oppressive environment. As an Afro Latino young man who is openly gay, I feel like I have been pushed out of school for being me. By putting $2.4 million for schools to have the resources they need to implement Restorative Justice, we will give them the tools they need to begin to reduce the disparities. We need to use alternatives to pushing students out! We need Restorative Justice! We need to end the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Make The Road and Urban Youth Collaborative Youth Leader Markeys Gonzalez.