On Wednesday, Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the University of Baltimore co-hosted the 10th annual Urban Child Symposium on Restorative Practices and the Urban Child: Rethinking School Discipline (full video; agenda). At the Symposium, OSI and Baltimore City Schools officially released the Restorative Practices Report, which outlines the necessary steps to implement restorative practices in all city schools and make Baltimore City Public Schools a Restorative District over the next five years.
Rep. John Sarbanes (bottom left) gave the keynote address, talking about his experiences seeing restorative practices in action in the classroom and connecting the subject to the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Next was a panel featuring former OSI-Baltimore staff member Monique Dixon (top right), now deputy director of policy for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on “The Problem: Disciplinary Practices in Schools.”
After lunch, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby made a surprise appearance, lauding OSI for bringing restorative practices to Baltimore schools more than ten years ago and making the connection to broader restorative justice ideas.
Later in the program, Karen Webber, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Education and Youth Development program, moderated a second panel: “The Solution: Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice.” Panelists included students from Bard Early College High School, Baltimore City Public Schools Police Chief Akil Hamm (top left), and Rhonda Richetta (bottom right), principal of City Springs Elementary/Middle School.
Hamm discussed the 80 percent drop in student arrests since OSI funded restorative practices training for all police officers, and Richetta talked about the 90 percent drop in student suspensions over the ten years since City Spring began implementing restorative practices.