Administration Implements Restore and Renew

Restorative vs Punitive Discipline Systems in School

Madison Harressey, Student Journalist

Perhaps you haven’t been called to the attendance office but a philosophical change in how students are being disciplined has begun. Administrators and teachers are working to change the school’s discipline system to give students a better chance at restoration and success both academically and personally. 

Restore and Renew is a program that has been implemented in place of standard Saturday detention. The program has been proven to reduce the rate of reoffending. It holds students accountable while helping them with responsibility.  Instead of punitive punishments, like a set list of punishments with corresponding consequences, such as losing recess or detention in the upper grades, administrators are taking a different approach. Rather than sending a student to detention for graffiti vandalism, they would have the student clean the area themselves. 

“The responsibility of taking ownership for your actions, taking responsibility for it and learning from that mistake,” said associate dean of students, Mr. Konstant.

Many educators throughout the country are viewing  traditional forms of punishment in schools as outdated and ineffective. This is evident also for Pinkerton students. Students who were assigned Saturday detentions would repeat the behavior that got them there. Many students did not attend their assigned Saturday detention; in fact,  less than 50 percent of students were showing up, which would often lead to a two day suspension. 

Administrators saw the problem and decided to make a change. With the new program in place called Restore and Renew, Saturday detention attendance went from less than 50 percent to 100 percent with the new program, according to Tartarilla and Konstant. Rather than sitting in a classroom for four hours, the new program starts at 9am and goes to 11:30am. Breakfast is provided and students are supplied with assignment trackers, a list from their teacher of work that needs to be completed. Students have a safe space where they complete work, meet with counselors, make up attendance, and learn about their mistakes in aim of fixing future behavior. 

Dean of Students and Supportive Services Mrs. Tartarilla believes that restorative instead of punitive action will correct future behavior.

“We’re in the moment, thinking out of the box, like rather than doing a detention, how can we address this restoratively and hopefully to keep the student from doing it again,” said Tartarilla.

One of the goals with Restore and Renew is to prevent the need for higher measures of discipline and to intervene before a situation escalates. Restorative practices are being applied to the classroom in hopes of being able to resolve issues before disciplinary action is taken. Ms. Gentile, a Pinkerton English teacher explained how Restore and Renew applies in the classroom. For instance, Gentile explains it is often better to remove a student from the classroom instead of immediately sending them to an administrator.

[I] “still maintain the boundaries but it’s less ‘I’m here to penalize you’ or ‘I’m here to get you in trouble’,” said Gentile. “But something is not right, let’s try to figure it out and make a plan.”

Associate Dean Mr. Roger Konstant agrees that a different approach is necessary to change behaviors.

“We used to give Saturday [detention] a lot,” said  Mr.Konstant. “We are doing other things, so rather than getting to a Saturday we might do something different with a student, to allow them to learn about the consequences.””

— Mr. Konstant

The Restore and Renew program is here to work with students, not against them. To ensure students understand that actions have consequences but to do so in a restorative way. 

“We treat them with the dignity that they deserve,” said Mr.Konstant.”Yes, they’re in trouble, but you’re still a Pinkerton student; were all in this together”