‘Trapped!’ episode two out now: The proven failures of restorative justice

In episode two of “Trapped!: Chaos in the Classroom,” Sheila Qualls talks with teachers, parents, and school board members about the damage restorative justice is doing to kids.

"Trapped!: Chaos in the Classroom" is hosted by Alpha News Journalist Sheila Qualls.

In schools across the state and nation, expectations have plummeted. Students are no longer disciplined, and their disrespectful and violent behavior is not addressed, leading to lower performance across the board.

The main culprit is restorative justice, says Sheila Qualls.

In episode two of “Trapped!: Chaos in the Classroom,” Alpha News journalist Sheila Qualls talks with teachers, parents, and school board members about the damage restorative justice is doing to kids.

A restorative justice approach to discipline encourages teachers and administrators to let students talk about their experiences, aiming for positive conversations instead of punitive measures. The practices are race-based, and white kids are the only ones held to the zero-tolerance policy of the past, Qualls says.

“More and more teachers are reporting that based on the color of the student’s skin, they may or may not get the otherwise typical consequence,” said Sue, a teacher in the metro area for 25 years.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education claimed that the reason black and brown kids were being expelled and suspended three times more than their white peers was biased teachers, not student behavior.

Since then, expulsions have plummeted.

An Anoka-Hennepin school board member said that parents are often confused about the lack of discipline.

“So-and-so did something that’s worthy of an expulsion; how come they’re not being expelled?” he said. “We have these behavioral problems that are not being dealt with.”

Kathryn, currently a fourth-grade teacher, brought her worries about her students’ safety to her principal at a former job, and she was told to keep quiet by the superintendent. Don’t tell the school board, they said.

Many teachers feel they have lost the support of administrators.

Teachers are retiring or quitting in droves, often because they feel they cannot support their students or control their classroom environment. Their hands are tied.

Since Episode 1 was released, Alpha News submitted ads to Spotify to promote the podcast but received a message that they were not approved. Alpha News is awaiting a response from Spotify on further details of the rejection.

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Rose Williams
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Rose Williams is an assistant editor for Alpha News.