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BFT Urges Investment in Restorative Practices

BFT Urges Investment in Restorative Practices

The following speech was given at the October 11, 2017 Board of Education meeting by BFT President Cathy Campbell.

Good Evening Board Members and Superintendent Evans,

My name is Cathy Campbell and I am the President of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers. I’m here tonight to speak about Agenda Item 14.2, the allocation of additional LCAP funds for the 2017-2018 school year.  BFT supports the recommendation from staff, and in particular strongly supports the proposal for a second Restorative Practices position at BHS.  The current Restorative Practices position at BHS is still relatively new, but in a short time period we have seen a significant positive impact on BHS.

One of the biggest impacts is that creation of structures that allow students that have been harmed to engage in productive dialogue with those that have harmed them, and that allow all parties to reach solution that restores the relationship.  To think about what this means for a student’s adulthood, for their relationships, for their self-advocacy skills is truly inspiring.

In addition, the limited RP resources currently at BHS are strengthening relationships across the site, and especially within classrooms.  This is a an incredibly valuable use of resources and one that we know can have a significant impact on a student’s learning and on their experience of school.

A recent survey by the California Federation of Teachers supports continued investment in RP in BUSD.  The survey, released in April of 2017, showed that nearly 9 out of 10 teachers surveyed said that they need more training, and the support of specialists such as counselors and social workers and restorative practices coordinators, in order to move away from exclusionary discipline.  BFT is confident that teachers in BUSD feel similarly.

As Erica Hoffman of the California School Boards Association said in a May 2017 EdSource article, “We still haven’t provided appropriate and real training to all teachers and all administrators on how to deal with children today.”  In this same article, Ms. Hoffman points out that high schools in particular need significant investments in services and training in order to meet our behavior support goals.

The proposal tonight to create a second Restorative Practices position at BHS is a step in the right direction.  More resources and investments are needed, and BFT looks forward to working with BUSD to complete our RP Roadmap and to create a timeline of investments as we continue to work hard to better serve our students.