Peer Resolution Conferences use Aboriginal restorative justice practices and principles to offer a unique alternative to certain school discipline measures, including suspensions.
Participation in the conferences is voluntary. Parents and those harmed by the actions of a youth are involved along with the respondent (the youth who behaved inappropriately) in formulating and monitoring the constructive consequences. In this way, the likelihood of closure and healing is increased.
Peer Resolution Conferences:
- Help youth deal with improper behaviour and actions
- Keep youth out of court
- Intervene before youth act in a manner that violates school rules or criminal laws
The conferences deal with the following issues:
- Aggressive behavior
- Assaults/threats to staff
In general, the goals of a Peer Resolution Conference program would be to:
- Keep students in school
- Practice restorative justice principles
- Hold youth accountable for their behaviour and give them a way to make amends
- Empower youth to accept responsibility
- Allow victims to be involved in the process
- Foster knowledge, skills and values that youth need in contemporary society
- Provide an opportunity for peer volunteers to learn skills such as how to weigh conflicting points of view and reach a just and appropriate consequence
Peer Resolution Conferences are based on restorative justice principles which aim to:
- Increase respondents’ awareness of the effects of their actions on all victims
- Give respondents an opportunity to repair the harm they have caused
- Develop skills in the respondents so that they can be productive members of society
- Connect the respondent to the community by involving the community in the outcomes
Usually, a teacher or youth support worker refers a respondent to a Peer Resolution Conference. The process, however, can also welcome a referral from a student, parent or outside agency to the principal or a school administrator.
Note that criminal acts resulting in a criminal charge and School Act violations, whether on or off school grounds, should not be the subject of Peer Resolution Conferences for Youth.
To learn more about the project, download the materials listed below.
Note: You will need to download the free program Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the above links.