Harsh disciplinary policies, such as zero tolerance, contribute to the school to prison pipeline by criminalizing students and pushing them out of school. Restorative practices, on the other hand, offer an opportunity to repair & move forward after a problem arises, keeping more students engaged in their education.
For almost a decade, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos (Parents and Youth United) have been working to change the school system in Denver, Colorado by implementing restorative practices instead of zero tolerance policies. The parents and students organizing to make these changes succeeded in winning a new discipline policy for their school district. After a year of this new policy, which guarantees students' rights, schools have seen dramatic improvements in school climate and a large reduction of violent incidents.
Dan Jones interviewed Lalo Montoya (pictured) of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos to learn more about their strategies and successes.