Restorative Practices at a Glance


Restorative practices (RP) are intended to involve all parties affected by a specific offense or situation in order to understand and address the problem. They aim to ensure the needs, harms, and obligations are addressed in an effort to collectively heal and ensure things are made right.1 

The principle and goal are simple: to create an environment in which individuals work with authority figures rather than for them, which encourages individuals to work collaboratively to make positive changes and ensure wrongdoings are corrected in a way that benefits all parties.2

Quick Facts – RP is:

Female University Or College Student Having Individual Meeting With Tutor Or Counsellor
  • The core of trauma-informed, equitable, and effective approaches.3 
  • Repairing damaged relationships.4 
  • Infusing learning communities with a sense of belonging and strong relationships.5 
  • Identifying conflict as an opportunity to improve and strengthen relationships.6 
  • Developing accountability, cooperation, problem-solving, and trust.7

Misunderstandings – RP is not:

  • A zero-tolerance methodology.7
  • Avoidance of accountability or consequences.7 
  • A short-term solution.8 
  • Ignoring bad behavior.9

Did You Know:

  • When implemented comprehensively, restorative practices have many benefits including improved climate and safety, increased school connectedness, the development of conflict resolution skills, improved academic performance, and social emotional learning.10 
  • A restorative approach in a school shifts the emphasis from managing behavior to focusing on the building, nurturing, and repairing of relationships.11
  • Studies regarding the effectiveness of school-based restorative programs suggest such programs not only decrease suspensions but also the number of fights and other violent acts, the amount of substance abuse, and the number of police visits to the school.9, 12, 13


  • Carolyn Seiger (Instructional Designer, National Center for School Safety)
  • Allison Schreiber, MAIR (School Safety Specialist, National Center for School Safety)
  • Heather Murphy, MA, LPC, NCC (School Safety Specialist, National Center for School Safety)
  • Aysha Lonich, MEd, BCBA (School Safety Specialist, National Center for School Safety)
  • Sarah Mason, MPH (Research Assistant, National Center for School Safety)
  • Erin Wyatt (Marketing Communications Specialist, National Center for School Safety)


  1. Zehr, H. (2015). The Little Book of Restorative Justice: Revised and Updated. Good Books.
  2. McCold, T., & Paul, W. (n.d.). From Restorative Justice to Restorative Practices: Expanding the Paradigm. International Institute for Restorative Practice. restorative-practices-expanding-the-paradigm
  3. Hulvershorn, K., & Mulholland, S. (2018). Restorative Practices and the Integration of Social Emotional Learning as a Path to Positive School Climates. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, 11(1).
  4. Watchel, T. (2016). Defining Restorative. International Institute for Restorative Practice.
  5. Evans, K., & Lester, J. (2015). Restorative Justice in Education: What We Know So Far. Middle School Journal, 44(5), 57–63.
  6. Restorative Practices Resource Guide. (2021). District of Columbia Public Schools.
  7. Darling-Hammond, L., & Cook-Harvey, C. (2018). Educating the Whole Child: Improving School Climate to Support Student Success. Learning Policy Institute.
  8. Short, R., Case, G., & McKenzie, K. (2018). The Long-Term Impact of a Whole School Approach of Restorative Practice: The Views of Secondary School Teachers. An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
  9. Lewis, S. (2009). Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices. International Institutefor Restorative Practice.
  10. Gonzalez, T., Sattler, H., & Buth, A. (2018). New Directions in Whole-School Restorative Justice Implementation. Conflict Resolution Quarterly.
  11. Hopkins, B. (2002). Restorative Justice in Schools. Support for Learning, 17(3).
  12. Karp, D., & Breslin, B. (2001). Restorative Justice in School Communities. Youth & Society, 33(2), 249–272.
  13. Gillinson, S., Horne, M., & Baeck, P. (2010). Radical Efficiency: Different, better, lower cost public services. National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
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