It’s Time to Talk About Restorative Justice In California Schools

Do we need to have this conversation right now?  Do we need to talk about our kids bringing weapons to school? Yes, we do. Recently, A 14-year-old girl took a gun to school. Let that settle in. A student at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley Unified took a loaded gun to school. 

My first thought was, “who does she feel like she needs protection from? Is she being bullied?” Bullying is never a good reason to bring a gun to school, but at least it makes some sense to me. I have a lot of questions: Is she in a gang? Was it her gun? Her parent’s gun? 

Whatever the case, I need to make something clear. Ladies and gentlemen, our kids are not okay. There’s a lot going on for them and we need to be mindful of this. We might not know what compelled this young lady to bring a loaded gun to class, but it’s clear that she’s in crisis. She was arrested and is currently being held in Juvenile Hall, inducting her into the school-to-prison pipeline system. 

The fact is it’s a crime to bring a loaded gun to school. We all know that. However, any emotionally intelligent adult can see that this 14-year-old child needs HELP, not incarceration. Instead of criminalizing confused young people by disappearing them into Juvie, Restorative Justice programs offer an opportunity to get answers and resolutions that don’t involve putting impressionable, developing minds in prison. With restorative justice programs in place, disciplinary problems can be resolved through cooperative and constructive measures. 

Several schools throughout the country have already implemented restorative justice programs to help decrease the number of students being injected into the criminal justice system. It’s time for Moreno Valley Unified and districts throughout California to consider these options because what scares me more than children bringing guns to school is thinking we can take care of the problem by disappearing those “problem” kids.

What do you think?
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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

2 thoughts on “It’s Time to Talk About Restorative Justice In California Schools

  1. Avatar

    Mollie McLeod

    A student I know brought a clear toy gun with orange plastic pellets. The 6th grader was suspended. Police interrogated the youth in a school office without parent present. By the time parent arrive, the child had signed a district form with his “confession” under penalty of perjury. The student did not know what “perjury” meant. The child was given a citation by the SJPD school resource officer and he was referred to a probation officer. This was one of the pushes along the school-prison pipeline.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Leticia! Kids should not be disappeared.

  2. Avatar

    Mike D

    Restorative justice is not new and is not as effective as it has been sold to the general public. It requires extensive training extensive time and support from all including the home environment, and this is where it most often collapses. Too many guardians, there babies are never the issue its the other child.

    There is too much transient staff in schools year to year and societal and home issues. White guilt and ideals born of such is mot an answer for POC but unfortunately in educations, its all that abounds in education.

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