Baltimore City Council Advocates For Restorative Conflict Resolution In City Schools

What’s happening?

The Baltimore City Council approved a resolution on Monday that urges the Baltimore City Public School system to adopt conflict resolution programs, following the fatal shooting of 17-year-old high school student, Jeremiah Brogden, earlier this month, Bethany Raja reports for WYPR. Though the City Council issued the request, the authority to implement the changes falls on the school board and other school leaders. 

What are these conflict resolution programs? 

In its resolution, the City Council referred to a specific type of conflict resolution known as restorative practices. This method calls for a shift away from a strictly disciplinary approach to one that centers people and open communication. Instead of leaders focusing on broken school rules, teachers and administrators encourage discussion among students involved in an incident to de-escalate violence, improve conflict resolution skills, and promote accountability. 

“Our children are crying out for help in every community,” said Councilmember Zeke Cohen, who introduced the legislation. “We see unnecessary conflicts that escalate from something small, often onto social media, and then, because there are so many guns in our community it results in bloodshed and gun violence.”

Anything else I should know? 

Johns Hopkins University implemented these restorative practices in 15 city schools during a pilot program in 2018, and the university reported a 44% reduction rate in suspensions. Councilmember Cohen said that 53 schools in the district are currently relying on some variation of restorative practices. 

You can read more here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Reporting for this story was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and we thank them for their support. However, the findings and conclusions presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.

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