Safety with Dignity
The ripple effects of this tragedy affect not just these two young people, but their families, their friends, their neighbors, schools, and communities.
On our television sets and in the news, the ways this tragedy could have been avoided are seldom discussed, and remain unfamiliar, and underfunded.
Fortunately, new “old approaches” like mediation, restorative justice and restorative practices are being tried and proven successful by inner city communities in Oakland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and in the state of Minnesota.
New Zealand no longer has, or needs, a juvenile “justice” system.
Violence is not necessary, but chosen, and people are trying other ways to deal with conflict, and with bullying.
And fortunately for New York City, and the many other Timothys and Noels in our midst, the Office of School and Youth Development of the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is paying attention to these other ways.
This summer teams of teachers from schools all around our city will be trained by the DOE in mediation and classroom use of restorative practice for use. Next September, too few, but still a good, number of schools will be exploring how best to use this training to stem the epidemic of violence our young people face.
More attention must be paid to these efforts and more financial support given if we are to hope for a real calming of the fever, and all of us, not just Bronx young people, will need to learn the skills and make the commitment to talk it out when we feel angry and in conflict with others.
Lyn Pyle and Aisha Norris, Co-Directors
Safety with Dignity
A project of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Safety with Dignity has studied six New York City public schools that are successfully maintaining safety while simultaneously promoting a nurturing school environment.
The group issued a report, “Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools,” which explores methods employed by these schools to understand the qualities that lead to their success. The report has led to numerous recommendations for the betterment of public schools citywide.
To read the report, please visit www.thebronxfreepress.com.