I observed an interaction today that captured the Restorative Approach.
In the Main Hall outside my office door Cassidy, age 12, was yelling and swearing. She had burst out of the dining room and was agitated and upset.
A staff approached her and said: “what’s wrong?”
Cassidy yelled that she had not worn socks to school today, and now a boy was saying that she had stinky feet and that she smelled. Now no one was going to want to sit next to her and she would not have any friends ever again.
There were many educational and responsible things the staff could have said. She could have said “that’s why you have to wear socks” or “you have to stop swearing or get a fine” or “you are out of bounds now” or “you can’t let that boy upset you and you have to go back to the dining room” or “I’m sure it’s not that bad and you will still have friends”.
Instead, she said: “I can see how you would feel that way”.
No: but you have to… you must… you will get….
Cassidy’s voice went down two decibels immediately. The next thing I heard the staff say was “I don’t think not wearing socks is really such a big deal. Look, I’m not wearing socks right now.”
After that I couldn’t hear them because they were talking in normal conversational tones. I think they were discussing how to get back to dinner and what to do about the rude boy. When I left to go home they were both eating.
I left with a feeling of pride from having seen the Restorative Approach in action.
©2006 The Restorative Approach is a servicemark of the Klingberg Family Centers, Inc.
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