Toolbox Tuesday: Restorative Justice Gains Traction in the State Legislature….

Our firm’s Toolbox Training is designed to help you serve students with disabilities who engage in disruptive and/or violent behavior. The Toolbox is based on traditional forms of student discipline, but is completely compatible with restorative practices.  I have advocated for the use of restorative practices for many years, and thus was pleased to see HB 62—a bill pre-filed for consideration at the 2021 legislative session by Representative James Talarico. 

The bill would require that restorative practices be available as an alternative to suspension.    Current law (T.E.C. 37.0013) says that you “may” offer an alternative to suspension for students below grade three.  HB 62 makes this mandatory (“shall”) and expands it to include all students, not just those below grade three. 

This bill would not prohibit short term suspensions, but rather, require that there be an alternative available.  Here are some other key components of this bill:

  1.  It specifies that the alternative must be available for all suspensions, including those that involve violation of a criminal statute;
  2. It requires that the alternative program be “culturally responsive;”
  3. It requires “restorative justice practices” and defines that term to mean “practices that emphasize repairing harm caused by a person’s conduct to another person or to the community.  The term includes a victim-initiated conference, a family group conference, a restorative circle, a community conference, or any other victim-centered practice.”
  4. It creates a “restorative justice coordinating council” which would have the authority to approve service providers that can assist with the development and implementation of restorative justice programs.


Tomorrow: apparently being a parent is not always apparent.