Restorative Justice: Moving from Punitive Sanctions to Proactive Interactions

  • Michelle H. A. BaileyEmail author


In schools, the response of suspensions for minor infractions remains reactive, punitive, and exclusionary. These practices do not contribute to restitution but become symbolic indication of a punitive continuum aimed at removing mostly Black students from schools temporary or permanently. I use some of Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts to provide an analysis of the suspension process for students. I argue that restorative justice is an alternate approach to suspensions for minor breaches of the school’s rules and codes of conduct in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) where Black students have higher suspension rates than any other students (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2005a, b; Rankin, Rushowy, & Brown, The Toronto Star, 2013; James & Turner, Towards Race Equity in Education: The Schooling of Black Students in the Greater Toronto Area. York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2017). Subsequently, a discussion of the suspension process shows that restorative justice offers teaching and learning opportunities for all students. The principal’s role is salient in the practice of restorative justice because their commitment to restitution is what will ultimately cause a decrease in suspensions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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