November 4, 2014 | Paul Biasco, DNAinfo

Peace Room Trumps Suspensions at Lincoln Park High School

LINCOLN PARK — During his seven years as assistant principal at Kenwood Academy, Michael Boraz learned to believe that punitive justice was the way to a disciplined and well-oiled school.

The idea of a "peace circle" to handle problems rather than a five-day suspension or even a transfer was almost laughable to him.

"We transferred a lot of kids out to other schools. We were punitive. We gave long suspensions. Even if kids had a shouting match in the hall, they might get a five-day out-of-school suspension," Boraz said. "That’s how I learned how to do it."

Four weeks into the fall semester at Lincoln Park High School, where Boraz has been principal since 2010, he isn't laughing about that peace circle idea anymore.

Since partnering with Umoja Student Development Corporation and installing a comprehensive restorative justice program that includes a full-time peace room and staff member, the results have been astounding, Boraz said.

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