Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Speaker Series Helps Define ‘Restorative Justice’

Jadi Taveras, head of school, at Esperanza Academy of Lawrence, and Quin Gonell, manager of Restorative Justice at Lawrence High School. (Courtesy photographs.)

Panelists Quin Gonell and Jadi Taveras discussed restorative justice in education at the second session of the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Speaker Series.

The event took place Aug. 18, at Lawrence High School, and focused on the different meanings of restorative justice and the many methods used to improve schools serving particularly vulnerable students. Taveras, head of Esperanza Academy, described restorative justice.

“We can’t just go to what is the quickest answer or the quickest form of discipline,” Taveras said. “We need to talk about how we can react to better support this child, so that we can help this child, and so that this child loves school. And, that’s a lot of what restorative justice is about.”

Lawrence High School Manager of Restorative Justice Gonell is working to shift mindsets about discipline for students, teachers and administrators.

“When someone breaks a rule and causes harm, rather than just looking at what they did and judging them, look at the cause of the behavior and what’s possible in doing the repair work.” Gonell said.

Both panelists talked about focusing on community in schools and creating a space where students feel safe to listen and talk.

The session is available for viewing on the Health Center’s YouTube Channel.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center operates clinics and pharmacies in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen.

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