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Randolph Academy hosts Restorative Practices workshop

Thomas O'Neil-White

Randolph Academy welcomed schoolteachers and faculty from across the state to their two campuses Friday for a Restorative Justice workshop.

Restorative Justice Practices has been gaining steam in the state as an alternative to zero-tolerance discipline policies which often lead to out of school suspensions.

Randolph Academy Principal Andy Prinzing has implemented restorative practices over the last 5 years.

“We’re trying to move away from these policies that exclude people,” he said. “The only research we know of that works is the best place for kids to be in classes, with their peers and their teachers.”

Randolph faculty modeled four types of restorative activities including using circle groups to resolve conflicts related to harmful classroom behavior.

Randolph Restorative Justice Coordinator Laura Heeter said kids are able to express themselves better when face to face with the people they see in school every day.

“We’re trying to change the environment and the culture around what happens when students maybe violate school policy,” she said. “And we’ve seen huge results in our schools.”

Both Heeter and Prinzing stressed the idea these different strategies will help to build a true community within the school

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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