How to Develop a School Culture That Helps Curb Bullying

After years of dealing with school bullying through traditional punishments, Carolyne Quintana, the principal of Bronxdale High School in New York City, introduced restorative justice approaches at her school because she wanted students to feel trusted and cared for.

“It wasn’t just about bullying incidents, it was about the whole school culture,” she said.

To build community and handle “instances of harm” among the students, teachers bring the kids together to talk in “restorative circles,” where everyone has an opportunity to listen and be heard. Bronxdale uses circles for most of its group communications, including parent meetings and ninth-grade orientation. The circles are a natural outgrowth of the Socratic method teachers use in class, Quintana said.

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