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Restorative Justice in Schools (Panel Discussion)

Jan 31, 2021
720 Restorative Justice Panel

“Restorative justice promotes values and principles that use inclusive, collaborative approaches for being in community. These approaches validate the experiences and needs of everyone within the community, particularly those who have been marginalized, oppressed, or harmed. These approaches allow us to act and respond in ways that are healing rather than alienating or coercive.” –Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz and Judy H. Mullet, (2015)

In this panel discussion students, educators and a psychiatric social worker come together to explore the principles and practice of restorative justice. The discussion will move from the realities of the school to prison pipeline, contrasting views of “justice,” and the need for restorative justice and better accountability in schools, to the vision of a holistic approach including long term goals to transform how conflict is addressed in schools and in the broader community. Finally, opportunities for involvement in the restorative justice movement will be offered.

In the words of three of our panelists:

“We’re here to talk about a paradigm shift that needs to happen in our schools and communities in order to make sure that all of our students, especially the most vulnerable and historically marginalized, have what they need in order to thrive.”

–Ariane White

“We’ll be discussing the impact that mental health has in the school system and the impact that it has on student outcome as well.”

–Grethel Vega

“We will be sharing a continuum of strategies of informal and formal practices that you can utilize both in schools, in your homes, and in your communities to help support our students in making sure they are able to thrive.”

–Shadi Seyedyousef

Contributor – Sarah Djato

Sarah Djato is a Senior at Dorsey High School, and a leader in #Students Deserve. She has worked on a campaign to #DefundLASPD for much of high school.

Contributor – Tarik Smith

Tarik Smith is the Restorative Justice Coordinator at a middle school in Los Angeles. His work supporting young people is truly an inspiration.

Discussant – Chitra Golestani

Dr. Chitra Golestani is a faculty member at Valparaiso University and the Institute for Humane Education in a hybrid Master of Education program. She is a co-founder of the Paulo Freire Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she is a research associate and lecturer. Dr. Golestani serves on the editorial board for Global Commons Review, a new magazine published by the Paulo Freire Institute and produced by the UNESCO-UCLA Chair on Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education. She holds a PhD in Social Science and Comparative Education from UCLA and a Master’s in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. Her areas of interest, lectures and research include Human Rights, Social Justice and Global Citizenship Education, Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice, Youth Activism in Extended Education, Conscious Living and Social Action. In September 2019, she began a new administrative position as Associate Director of the Wilmette Institute.



Ariane White

Ariane White has been an educator in Los Angeles since 2003 and completed her doctoral research in Loyola Marymount University’s Educational Leadership for Social Justice program in 2019 on restorative justice in schools. She is a long-time member of AWARE-LA, a community-based white anti-racist affinity group, and serves as the co-coordinator of AWARE-LA’s Restorative Culture team. In all her work, she aims to reframe conflict as an essential element of healing and relationships and transforming systems in service of equity and justice.


Kahlila Williams

Kahlila Williams is a senior at Girls Academic Leadership Academy. A student leader and organizer with Students Deserve and Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard.


Shadi Seyedyousef

Dr. Shadi (she/her) is an Iranian immigrant, a woman with a disability, and an activist based in Los Angeles. She has been an educator for more than 10 years, and has taught middle school and elementary school, finding particular joy in teaching young children how to read. She recently founded Love & Liberation Educational Consulting, focused on doing the work of creating a better world for all through radical hope, revolutionary love, joyful resistance, and critical praxis.


Grethel Vega

Grethel Vega is a Psychiatric Social Worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She works within the clinic program providing individual and family therapy to students and parents experiencing high emotional distress. Grethel was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended a local public school.

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