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Topic: Seattle Education Association

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February 5, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Seattle teachers want district to outline new discipline approach

Loren Demeroutis (right), principal of Big Picture High School in Burien, speaks to students during a group discussion about drug use as part of the restorative justice process. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times.

Loren Demeroutis (right), principal of Big Picture High School in Burien, speaks to students during a group discussion about drug use as part of the restorative justice process. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times.

While federal investigators continue to pore through discipline data in Seattle schools, concerned about a pattern of punishing minority students at higher rates than whites, many of the district’s teachers say there’s no need to wait for a formal verdict. They know there’s a problem, and they want to move ahead with a solution that could address it.

Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association, said the union plans to hammer out a proposal this month, urging the school district to consider restorative justice as a new model for student discipline.

“I sense not just a willingness, but an eagerness to get to it,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Restorative justice, as described in an Education Lab story last month, treats misbehavior as harm done to a relationship and focuses on repairing it, rather than simply suspending students. Teachers who have used this approach in other cities, like Denver and San Francisco, say it can make a huge difference in classroom dynamics.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: discipline, restorative justice, Seattle Education Association