In an effort to discontinue exclusionary disciplinary practices such as out of school suspension, in-school suspension, or disciplinary alternative education placements, the public school system in Texas began to explore options for more inclusive and equitable systemic responses to behavior that focus on developing relationships, strengthen relationships, repair harm, and increase accountability. Restorative Discipline Practices (RDP) in Texas began in the Fall of 2015. The Texas Education Agency partnered with the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work to participate in a statewide rollout.
Restorative discipline is a relationship-based approach to building a school climate and addressing student behavior. The approach fosters belonging over exclusion, social engagement over control, and meaningful accountability over punishment.
Restorative practices celebrate the community and the development of relationships, including a shared sense of responsibility for others' well-being. When conflicts occur, mediation and resolution strategies are used to maintain relationships and to identify resolutions. When more significant issues arise, conferencing and conflict resolution are used to repair harm to the community and relationships.
These skills, coupled with social and emotional learning, positive behavior systems, and multi-tiered systems of supports provide a comprehensive instructional model to provide students with real-world skills necessary to be successful in pursuing postsecondary goals.