Heart formed by reached in hands

Trauma-Sensitive, Restorative Approach to Discipline

  • Trauma Sensitive:

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact many of our students and their families.  Early experiences such as abuse, neglect, and domestic violence impact brain development, altering their ability to process information and language; self-regulate emotions, attention, and behavior; and form trusting relationships with adults and peers.  In later adulthood, ACEs increase risk behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism, drug use, suicide attempts, missed work, and has increased health dangers that include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

    In Washington state, an ordinary classroom may look like this:

    Incidence of ACEs in a Washington Classroom

    The compassionate relationships we form with our students can help our students build resilience and hope, which can overcome the effects of ACEs.  The PBIS framework is very compatible with ACEs work, recognizing the need that many students have for developing social skills and providing tiered interventions to create a consistent, safe, and predictable learning environment. 

    Restorative Approach to Discipline:

    Restorative practices focus on relationships within a community.  Rather than being punished, students are accountable for the effects of their behavior within their community.  As part of the restorative process, students work to repair broken relationships and set things right with those who they harmed.  In this safe, caring setting, students learn from their mistakes rather than being defined by them.

    External Links for More Info

    More Information about ACES [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration]

    More Information on Resilience and Hope [Community Resilience Initiative and Kids at Hope]

    More Information about Restorative Discipline [PDF Educators Guide published by the Schott Foundation]



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