House Passes Resolution Urging Restorative Justice in Utah’s Education System

Media Statement

 For Immediate Release: February 27, 2018

Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 |

House Passes Resolution Urging Restorative Justice in Utah’s Education System

SALT LAKE CITY - Today the House passed House Resolution 1, “Urging Restorative Justice in Utah's Education System”.  The resolution urges the State Board of Education and Utah's school districts to implement school-wide restorative justice practices in the state's public primary and secondary schools.

Rep. Sandra Hollins, the resolution’s sponsor said, “Restorative justice works to address the root of students misbehaviors. Rather than responding to disciplinary problems in our schools with a traditional punitive response, Restorative Justice practices gives our schools a more effective philosophical approach to managing student behavior problems. Instead of pushing troubled students out, they are pulled in.  Restorative justice allows our classrooms to become spaces for students to self-advocate and build conflict resolution skills to negotiate interpersonal relationships at school, work and home.”

Restorative justice practices can especially help at-risk and ethnic minority students. Data show that disciplinary actions against students of color are disproportionate to our state’s population size. Currently Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and even students with disabilities are much more likely to be suspended and expelled for relatively minor infractions in Utah. Offending students are often removed from classrooms, where they fall behind, and many may drop-out.  Restorative Justice works to prevent this trend.  

Last year, schools in the Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD), like Horizonte Instruction and Training Center, began implementing restorative practices. They report already seeing positive results, like decreased rates of recidivism, and an increase in student attendance. School-based citations (which can be given for conduct ranging from disturbing the peace to drug or weapons possession) are down district-wide from 503 in the 2013-14 school year to 112 last year (2016-17). 

The resolution was signed by the Speaker, and sent for enrolling.