Restorative Justice Contact Information:
Restorative Justice School Specialist -Parkrose School District
503-408-2981 --Parkrose Middle School
503-988-5610 --Donald E. Long Juvenile Justice Complex
1827 NE 44th Ave, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
RESOLUTIONS NORTHWEST LINK:
Restorative Justice, Resolutions Northwest and Parkrose Middle School:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Restorative Justice?
A: Restorative justice is a philosophy and practice based on the idea of taking
responsibility for actions that have hurt or harmed someone else and/or yourself.
Rather than focus on punishment and isolation from the community, restorative justice
focuses on meaningful accountability, which includes actively engaging in
understanding what harms have been done and how to repair those harms. Mediation,
circling, family conferencing, victim/offender meetings and other collaborative processes
are commonly utilized through a restorative framework.
Q: What is Resolutions Northwest (RNW) and what do they do?
A: RNW is a unique nonprofit organization in the Portland area, working to make the
metro-area a more livable community through conflict resolution and peace making. We
provide a wide range of mediation and facilitation services, as well as trainings and
community education through outreach, that help community members find solutions to
conflict and learn new tools to add to their conflict resolution toolboxes. We help
families, neighborhoods and communities creatively address conflict; working with real
people, to solve real conflict, using collaborative conflict resolution-based processes.
Q: How is RNW qualified to do this work?
A: RNW began their mission in 1985 and has established relationships with the
Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, the City of Portland, Parkrose
School District and Portland Public Schools. All RNW staffers meet the Oregon
Mediation Associations (OMA) Core Standards of Mediation Practice and all staff
member have hundreds of hours of training and mediation and/or facilitation experience.
Several staff members have graduate degrees in conflict resolution.
Q: Why is RNW at Parkrose?
A: In the fall of 2008, RNW, Parkrose School District and the Multnomah County
Department of Community Justice collaborated to launch the Restorative Justice in
Schools Pilot Project. The goal of the pilot, on the school level, is to look at the
effectiveness of restorative justice in addressing the disproportional number of students
of color being affected by major discipline referrals (in-school suspension, suspension
and expulsion).On a juvenile justice level, the pilot project aims to look at options that keep
students in school and break the connection between exclusionary practices in
education and rates of juvenile incarceration. The program allows administrators to
access additional process options that may reduce or eliminate exclusionary discipline
outcomes on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Is the Restorative Justice Program only for certain students?
A: The RJ Program serves all students at Parkrose Middle School. RNW believes it can
best achieve the goal of the pilot project by offering every student, family and staff
member the opportunity to resolve conflict, seek accountability and repair harm when
Q: Why is my child involved in this program?
A: An administrator may have referred your student to the RJ Program for one of four
1. As a preventative measure when an interpersonal student conflict edges
toward a detention or major referral.
2. To participate in a re-entry meeting to ensure safety, closure and
accountability, following in-school suspension or suspension.
3. Your child may be the victim or offender in an incident that resulted or may
result in the generation of a police report (i.e., being the victim of theft, or
participating in vandalism).
4. Because a conference between your student, their teacher and yourself may
be beneficial in creating success in the classroom.
Administrators refer appropriate situations and students, but it is not uncommon for
teachers, students and families to request access to the program as well.
Q: Do I or my child have to have been involved in a 'harm' or 'offense' to be a part
of this program?
A: No. Restorative justice is more than repairing harm. The philosophy and practices of
restorative justice are also concerned with building meaningful community. This means
building relationships and a sense of community on a daily basis.
At the heart of restorative justice are restorative practices, which help create the
right kind of space and process for addressing issues important to individuals and their
communities. Examples of this include teacher/parent dialogues, community listening
circles, and restorative community service, to name a few.Facilitated restorative processes
and measures of accountability use creative
problem solving to help groups voice their concerns and then formulate agreements and
specific action plans for reaching individual and community goals together. Some
restorative processes may entail a high level of community involvement and are
undertaken on an as needed basis. If you are interested in accessing a restorative
process, RNW staff would be happy to consult with you.
Q: What kinds of meetings are available to teachers, students and parents?
A: There are numerous meeting options available in the RJ program and administrators
or RNW staff can explain the goals and process of each meeting option:
Preventative Contact: A one-on-one student meeting regarding an escalating
conflict situation involving another student. The goal of this single student
meeting is to review the conflict through a restorative lens, assessing current and
probable impacts and brainstorming de-escalation options.
Restorative Meetings: This process is preventative and focuses on
interpersonal conflicts between students which have increasing potential to lead
to a major referral. Students address the conflict and create specific agreements
to minimize future conflict and/or avoid possible ISS or suspension.
Re-entry Meetings: This process is for students coming back from ISS, a
suspension or an expulsion stemming from fights and similar violations. The goal
is for students to create agreements that help re-establish normalized
relationships and safe environments between each other and the school
community as a whole. Any needs around accountability may also be addressed.
Assigned days of ISS or suspension may be reduced at the discretion of an
administrator should students at fault decide to voluntarily participate, and
successfully reach agreement without breaching it during the 30-day referral
Victim Offender Meetings (VOMs): The goal of a VOM is to bring together
victims and offenders for the purpose co-creating accountability. VOMs can occur
as a victim-driven measure that can be used to avoid suspension, and/or to
potentially avoid juvenile justice involvement. Aside from school processes,
VOM's may also occur as an option by which victims of crime can find
accountability within the Multnomah County's juvenile justice system.
Restorative Circles: The circling process allows (when appropriate) teachers,
students and/or the community to talk about and address conflicts and issues
that are affecting the entire classroom or community in a restorative manner that
allows for voices to be heard and common group understanding and agreements
to be established. In special cases, the circling process may call for the voices of
those impacted in the larger community (beyond the school) to be heard.
Family/Staff Conferencing: Conferencing (when appropriate) allows students
and their families and Parkrose Middle School staff (teachers, administrators or
support staff) to come together to address concerns in the classroom coming
from both sides of the table and create understanding on how best to move
forward. The goal of conferencing is to help staff and the student's family work
together to help create success in the classroom for everyone.
Q: What do these meetings look like?
A: Every meeting asks all participants to address the following four questions in the
context of everyone's role:
· What happened?
· Who has been affected, impacted or harmed?
· How can the harm be repaired, to best extent possible?
· How can we prevent this from happening in the future?
The above questions asked by a facilitator foster dialog between participants in hopes
of creating a working agreement and a better understanding of the impact the situation
had on individuals, their families, and the larger community.
The process also allows participants to negotiate how to best find accountability
and repair the harm done in a manner that is meaningful to all involved. Additionally this
meeting process provides a forum to establish how to best prevent similar situations
from happening again and may foster the building or rebuilding of trust between
Q: Will my child get in more trouble by accessing this program?
A: No. In fact, accessing the RJ Program may be an opportunity for students to reduce
disciplinary action or avoid it all together. The disciplinary process will continue as
normal should a student refuse to access the program or if a process does not end in a
mutual agreement. In those cases RNW will refer the case and students back to an
administrator who will then decide how to best address the situation within the
traditional disciplinary track, which typically results in one or both parties involved
receiving some sort of disciplinary action.
Q: What if I do not want my child to participate?
A: Please let school administrators know if you do not want your child to participate in
the program. Administrators reserve the option to utilize the program at their discretion
and many interpersonal conflicts that do not rise to the level of a major referral are
referred regularly without notification of parents. However, RNW does contact parents
(regardless of whether a meeting occurred or not) to discuss the outcome and at that
time you may relay your preference for your child to participate or not in future
meetings. Administrators will always call parents or guardians in cases involving in
school suspensions or suspension before students meet face-to-face, which provides
an opportunity to make a decision regarding your child's participation.
Q: What if my child does not what to participate? Is it safe for my child to be in
the same room as the person who harmed or is harassing them?
A: RNW's staff at Parkrose Middle School takes case development very seriously and
believes that participants must be willing and ready to meet before any face-to-face
meeting occurs. All participants are screened for appropriateness by administrators and
again by RNW staff. There must be a common willingness to want to solve the conflict
and be open to sitting in the same room peacefully. RNW staff will immediately end any
meeting where participants become verbally or physically aggressive or abusive to any
other person in the room.
Q: How do administrators and teachers access the Restorative Justice program?
A: Administrators use their discretion when accessing the RJ program and weigh many
factors such as context, student needs and appropriateness of the participants, as well
as the Restorative Services meeting type most appropriate for the situation. Teachers
and parents may also request access or refer students to the program via
Q: How long to agreements last?
A: Agreements last for 30-days, at which point the case will close and any additional
referral to the RJ program involving students named in the agreement will open as a
Q: What happens if agreements are broken?
A: Broken agreements result in the students or student being referred back to the
administrator and any disciplinary action avoided due to the initial agreement will move
forward. The student or students responsible for breaking the agreement will face
Q: What is Restorative Community Service (RCS)?
A: Accountability, competency development and community are what RCS is all about.
RCS at Parkrose Middle School offers an alternative form of accountability aside from a
typical detention and provides a way for students to give back to the community as a
form of accountability and way to make things right. Students participating in RCS help
the school and surrounding community by doing volunteer work (the Parkrose Farmers
Market for example) or helping the school's facilities staff upkeep the building and keep
the grounds looking good. A RNW staff member works alongside the youth and mentors
them through the work, helping students learn new skills, view themselves as positive
resources for the community and get them thinking about their future and the role
education plays in it.
Q: Why was my child assigned (RCS)?
A: Most students are assigned RCS when they fail to show up to multiple detentions
that have been assigned, or when parties involved in an agreement decide to access it
as a way of repairing harm.
Q: When does RCS occur?
A: RCS happens every Monday between 2:50 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. All students must
arrive on time at the counseling office and stay for the entire hour to earn service credit.
Students are expected to treat each other with respect, work hard and be ready to think
about where they see themselves in 10 years.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: Contact the RNW Staff member at Parkrose Middle School at (503) 408-2981. The
RJ program is looking for parents and community members to get involved and help
mentor youth who are doing community service work in the community. RNW is also
looking for parents and community members to help get the word out about the great
work being done at the school to keep students in class and accountable.
RNW Contact Information