Posted by: bwoof | May 23, 2015

Restorative Justice – Dalhousie version

dalhousieThis week marked the end of a five-month restorative justice (RJ) process at Dalhousie University. It followed the most despicable and ugly Facebook posts by several male dental students who, in the opinion of many, should have been banished from the university and stripped of any potential for dentistry careers. Forever!

In a Dalhousie report that I read today there is a wonderful (my opinion) explanation of not only the RJ process but of the learning that happens when people take time to understand the roots of conflict and the resultant harm.

Despite today’s social media rants from some people, I stand firm in my belief that RJ, when experienced willingly, openly and with skilled facilitators, makes all the difference.

If we truly believe that all people can learn, and that building communities of belonging makes a difference, then we must give RJ a chance.

I know this to be true. This week I watched teens in conflict, both verbal and physical, struggle to find peaceful ways to understand each other. And it worked, even if only for a short while. It’s better than hatred!

Grateful for:

  • Stacy who works hard at offering RJ instead of raw punishment. She provided time, skill and the long arm of the law to nudge some teens towards learning the ‘curriculum of life’.
  • Dalhousie university and the female (and males, too!) dentistry students who courageously spoke out but didn’t lash out. Their capacity to seek to educate trumped their desire to eradicate.
  • Ko, MoBee, Filipe, Monika, Marlene, Liz, Grant, Joanna, Brian, Penny, Shayna, Scott, Shane, and, of course Prof Portelli, for an excellent Ethics course at OISE. I am humbled and inspired by the insights of my classmates and teacher.
  • jupitermoonvenusmay232015StarTracker, the newest app on my iPhone. I used it moments ago to help me understand what I’m seeing in the night sky (as seen in this picture). Stunning! Beautiful! Venus, Jupiter and a waxing moon are dancing together. Saturn is rising in the east.  Just launch the app, point iPhone skyward, and presto, you learn a lot!

Curious about:

  • How will life fare for the male dentistry students who admittedly made some grievous errors in judgement — will their lives change forever in a good way? Will they contribute to society and honour women in a new way? Similarly, what will become of the harmed female students who chose to Forgive and Forget rather than take Revenge and Regret?
  • How many moons of Jupiter will I see tonight with my new but somewhat misaligned Vortex binos. I think they need to go back to shop because I’m seeing doubles.



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