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Restorative Solutions to Harassment and Bullying

Session 4
Kay Kyungsun Yu, Steve Korr, Jennifer Lowman, David Keller Trevaskis

Here is a link to the Google Doc that contains notes taken during the conversation:


Harassment and bullying interfere with student learning. In some tragic instances, harassment and bullying interfere with life itself. All too often, we see media reports of teen suicide following allegations of brutal bullying.

From January through November 2010, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations undertook a series of eleven public hearings to hear first-hand from parents, teachers, students, principals, and other community members about their experiences with intergroup conflicts in all of Philadelphia’s public schools. Testimony confirmed that intergroup conflicts cover a broad range of unfair, disrespectful, and aggressive behavior that can cause emotional and physical harm and negatively impact students’ ability to learn.

The six-year cohort dropout rates reported by the School District of Philadelphia in 2010 show the gravity of the problem. District-wide, the dropout rate is an unacceptable 37%, but is especially dire for African-American males at 43% and Latino males at 51%.

Join us for small group conversations in circles using restorative decision-making to create strategies for prevention, intervention, resolution, and restoration of the community following incidents of harassment and bullying. The small groups will focus on these questions:

• Are legal mandates useful or helpful? Should we have a national legal response?

• In responding to harassment and bullying, when is it appropriate for the student who suffered the harm and the student who inflicted the harm to come together?

• How do we promote consistency in response to harassment and bullying?

These are websites with useful information and resources:

http://wideningthecircle.org/, Widening the Circle of Our Concern: Public Perceptions of the School District of Philadelphia’s Responses to Intergroup Conflicts, A Report from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

http://www.iirp.edu, International Institute for Restorative Practices; Restoring Community in a Disconnected World.

http://www.iirp.edu/join_eforum.php, Join the Restorative Practices eForum.

http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/Defining-Restorative.pdf, Defining Restorative.

http://www.safeschools.info/bp_toolkit.pdf, Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit.

http://www.safeschools.info/images/stories/BP_PDE.pdf, Information about PA’s law regarding school bullying.

http://www.stopbullying.gov/index.html, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Stop Bullying website.

http://www.pabar.org/public/education/projectpeace/projectpeacehome.asp, This goes to Project PEACE on PBA wesbite. Project PEACE is a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court program jointly sponsored by the PBA and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

http://pabar.org/public/committees/childavo/basedyouthcourt.asp, This goes to youth courts on the PBA website.

http://www.legsagainstarms.info/, Sunday morning, April 28, 2013, at St. Joseph's University, will be the 7th annual Legs Against Arms anti-violence race and educational event sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility. Our vision in a nutshell is to hold a race ( 5K run and walk with a 1K fun walk) that is the entry to a much larger event—a highlighting of Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators)—that rests on the conflict resolution, peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court education programs that PSR has served as “midwife” for in bringing to Philadelphia. We want to celebrate veterans as well as we end our wars by inviting them to share their visions of peace with the larger community. Our plans right now are for registration to start at 8 a.m., for tables to start being set up then, for the 5K race and 1 K fun walk to kick off at 9:00 a.m., for the exhibit tables to open to observers from 9:00 a.m. on, for the runners and walkers to return to the gym where the tables and stage and chairs are set up in the half of the gym that is not used for basketball practice, first for the runners' awards program, probably around 10:00 a.m., and then a youth court demonstration around 10:30 a.m which will also be when we will have short speeches by honored guests. Anyone able and willing to stick around after that demo will come together for a "town meeting" to look at brainstorming ideas for solving the violence epidemic we face, especially with gun violence.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=156, Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act (aka PASS, aka H.B. 156).

Conversational Practice

After viewing a 5-minute video, our time will be spent in small groups and circles utilizing restorative decision-making to develop solutions to deal with harassment and bullying.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

Kay Yu
Kay Yu
David Trevaskis
David Trevaskis
Pennsylvania Bar Association


Kay Yu

Thanks to everyone who attended our conversation on Restorative Solutions to Harassment and Bullying. The Google Doc at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qbO21GwwDtAyQSYrPNOfB2rvLd4FxkcQO5iGqKLgng0/edit

includes the questions we discussed, the notes taken during the conversation, links to useful websites and resources, and the subquestions to our three main questions.

Remember the fundamental hypothesis of restorative practices. People are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in positions of authority do things WITH them, rather than to them or for them.

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