New England Secondary School Consortium


When Restorative Justice in Schools Works

From The Atlantic

Published December  29, 2015

By Emily Richmond

When the freshman Hope Parent left her cellphone unattended at Pittsfield Middle High School, last year, her classmate Brandon Bojarsky saw his chance for a little fun.

Grabbing the device off a windowsill in their Spanish class, he quickly shot off a few obnoxious text messages to people in her contact list—including one to Hope’s mother.

By the time Hope figured out what Brandon had done, her phone battery had died. She couldn’t immediately follow up with people to tell them the unkind words hadn’t originated with her.

But even worse, her mother—who lives out of state—was deeply upset. Brandon had texted “I hate you” to her, particularly hurtful language at the time. 

“The relationship with my mother wasn’t that great so [the message] seemed believable,” Hope said.

At home after school, Hope had to convince her father she had nothing to do with the prank message to her mother. In the following days, having to encounter an apparently unremorseful Brandon at school made it impossible to forget the incident had happened, Hope said. She took her complaint to a teacher who had a suggestion: What if the school’s new justice committee heard the case?

Read more on The Atlantic 

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