Evidence has shown that exclusionary discipline practices in schools like suspensions have negative effects on students and schools alike. In particular, these practices contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a process whereby school-based infractions push youth to engagement with the criminal justice system. In response, the Just Discipline Project is a research-to-practice initiative designed to advance achievement for all students by implementing and evaluating school‐based relational climate and restorative practice programs. The project supports teachers, students, and staff in efforts to enhance relational approaches that ultimately reduce the need for exclusionary discipline in schools. We expect that decreases in school suspensions and increases in strong relationships will in tandem yield safer schools, improved academic outcomes, and reduced contact with criminal justice systems for youth.
Restorative Justice and culture-building programming started at WHIS in the spring of 2017 and has continued since that time. Evaluation of the work is ongoing.