Mediation Successfully Reduces Truancy and Suspension in Schools
A recently released report from Michigan’s State Court Administrative Office highlights the success of a restorative justice pilot project in which students learned how to resolve conflict, work together, and avoid conflict in the future. The long term goal is to keep students out of the criminal justice system. With respect to disciplinary outcomes and attendance, the study found that in the first year alone, at two schools, restorative practices:
- reduced suspensions by 340 days;
- reduced absences by 3,400 days; and,
- reduced tardy instances by 22,720.
Over the two-year period of the study, 628 disciplinary actions were avoided.
“The evidence is clear: Restorative practices keep students out of trouble and in school,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “Let’s maximizes their time in the classroom and teach skills that allow them to resolve conflict through positive interaction instead of simply removing a student from the school.”
In addition to the success regarding reduced disciplinary action and decreased truancy, students reported extremely positive experiences in the program. For example, 90 percent of students felt they were treated fairly and had a chance to express themselves. During the follow-up period, 83 percent of students reported that there were no reoccurrences of conflict. Just as important, nearly 90 percent of agreements were upheld.
The study was conducted by Western Michigan University’s Evaluation Center with input from MSC, regional mediation centers, and courts.