restorative justice bullying
Teenager in a school yard. (Photo credit: Dreamstime)

A fractured finger, choking, punching and a bathroom stall door kicked in to get to a victim. The assaults are rife at an elite private girls school in Toronto.

Parents of a student there blame school officials for not enforcing what the school calls restorative justice practices and disciplinary policies after years of bullying and violence.

“There's no real consequences that bullies face, and so the behaviour that they engage in just continues to escalate,” said the student's parents, who Canadian Affairs agreed not to name for fear of retaliation against their family. “The policies in place basically prevent [the] identification of a particular child as a ‘bully.”

To handle conflict, the school’s approach is to use restorative practices, such as identifying how wrongdoers can “repair” the harm they caused.

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Hadassah Alencar is a bilingual journalist based near Montreal. She recently completed the journalism program at Concordia University, where she worked as a teaching assistant and became editor-in-chief...