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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Working on a new research paper...what do you think?

The CPS Student Code of Conduct has enforced a punitive approach to handling delinquency in schools since 1998. But, what exactly is considered delinquent behavior in CPS? Many offenses considered delinquent are often minor, such include: swearing, uniform infractions, frequent tardiness, and the like. Though these offenses can be considered as disruptive to the school community and possibly the safety of students, they can also be resolved through peer jury. Another restorative justice approach that can accompany peer jury is peace circles. Peace circles consist of, but are not limited to, students who volunteer to gather together with teachers and members of community organizations who help administer discussions about various issues pertinent to the area, school, and individuals. Students take turns using a talking piece to talk about a topic or answer a question that was presented by the facilitator. Students are able to connect with their peers, and express their concern for issues without worrying about being wrong. Participants of peace circles are also free to propose possible solutions for problems in their school such as: inviting parents for discussions, asking security guards to listen to students, or going to classrooms to encourage their peers to speak out.

Though the CPS Student Code of Conduct has been revised to adopt restorative justice as an option for misconduct, it is still not properly enforced to effectively serve students. There are roadblocks that limit the influence of progressive coalitions like the High H.O.P.E.S Campaign that have worked excessively to represent the juvenile justice system and restorative justice programs. On April 2, 2011, the coalition invited Mary Richardson- Lowry, President of CPS Board of Education to Roosevelt University to endorse their campaign. However, Lowry denied ever receiving any of the information about their cause and the actual endorsement sheet.

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