Applying Restorative Practices in New York City High Schools : Perceived Impact and Mixed Findings, New York, 2017-2019 / Lama Hassoun Ayoub.

Data file
Ann Arbor, Mich. : Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023.
  • 1 online resource
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Summary note
Recognizing the potentially deleterious consequences of criminalizing school discipline, schools are increasingly turning to alternative methods for holding students accountable for misbehavior. Restorative justice (RJ) practices--which seek to hold students who cause harm accountable without removing them from their learning environment--ostensibly represent an antidote to traditional discipline. However, RJ practices have been the subject of limited high quality scientific inquiry. This study aims to fill this gap through the implementation and evaluation of a restorative program in a school district (District 18) that struggles with the highest suspension rates in New York City.Related literature presents inconclusive results regarding the effectiveness of restorative justice (RJ) in schools (Anyon and others 2016; Augustine and others 2018; González 2015; González and others 2019). There is little uniformity in restorative justice implementation, although some key components of successful implementation (e.g., staff buy-in, resources) have been identified. Because no two schools are likely to implement restorative practices identically, evaluating them with scientific rigor--typically requiring large samples--has been inherently challenging. As such, randomized controlled trials of restorative justice in schools were virtually non-existent in 2015 (at the time the current study was proposed), and most existing research relied on qualitative, quasi-experimental or pre-post designs. The push for quantitative rigor resulted in the present study, a mixed method randomized controlled trial, along with other recently published or ongoing rigorous evaluations. The restorative justice program in question aimed to improve school climate, strengthen relationships schoolwide, prevent and intervene in conflict, reduce incidents and suspensions, and enhance any existing restorative practices already in place. Restorative justice has the potential to reduce dependency on punitive measures (e.g., suspension) when an incident occurs at school. Additionally, given the priority placed on building community and providing mental health support, restorative justice may also reduce such incidents altogether, while creating a positive school climate. As such, the primary quantitative outcomes in this study were incident rates, suspension rates, and school climate. This study was a randomized control trial that included a treatment group (enrolled in RJ program), comparison group (no RJ program enrollment), and control groups (general restorative justice practices). The research team hypothesized the following: Hypothesis 1: Students in the treatment group would have fewer incidents and suspensions than the control group. Hypothesis 2: Students in the treatment group would have fewer incidents and suspensions than the comparison group. Hypothesis 3: Students in all of District 18 would have fewer incidents and suspensions than the comparison group. Hypothesis 4: The treatment group would have a more positive school climate than the control group.Cf:
Type of data
Geographic coverage
  • New York (state)
  • New York City
  • United States
Methodology note
High school students in New York City Schools
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