Restorative Justice: Can Lansing schools prevent violence?

By: Miguel Martinez-Valle

Lansing Starr Staff Writer

High-profile incidents such as the shooting of Sexton High School students almost two months ago raise the question of whether Lansing’s public high schools are safe. One school that focuses on prevention is Eastern High School as the only one of the three Lansing public high schools that has partnered with the Resolution Services Center to implement a restorative justice approach

The center is a non-profit agency that has been working with schools in Ingham County for more than 20 years. The group’s goal is to address student conflicts and create a plan of action to help prevent them in the future. They achieve this through mediation following the idea of the BARJ triangle, which states that public safety is enhanced when young people are held accountable and given the competency to problem solve. Brandy Jones, Assistant Case Manager for the Resolution Services Center and Restorative Justice facilitator explained, “The goal is to figure out how we can move forward, how we can address the harm done and make an agreement everyone is happy with.”

Jones states that the program is both reactive and proactive, saying,  “It works both ways because by identifying the issue and providing skill development for the students, they are able to apply it moving forward and they are able to use those problem solving skills to prevent future incidents.”

The Restorative Justice Program in Lansing is located in Eastern High School but serves the whole Lansing School District.