The Restorative Justice League of Le Grand High School jumps in to save the day

A teen starts a fistfight with a fellow student. Another brings alcohol to school. Another urinates on a fellow student’s locker, and a fight ensues.

Three years ago at Le Grand High School, in Le Grand, CA, these students would have been immediately expelled or suspended. This year, they weren’t. They didn’t miss any classes. They made amends. They learned from their mistakes.

In 2010-2011, Principal Javier Martinez suspended 49 students and expelled six. Last year, he suspended 15 and expelled only one.

This school year, with the help of the Restorative Justice League, he’s going for double zeros.

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Le Grand High School is tucked on the edge of a town so tiny it has not one traffic light. Orchards and fields

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Embracing the shadow side — fear, shame, self-doubt — of creativity

In a blog post, “What is Creativity?,” Maria Popova quoted designer Charles Eames on the cultural obsession with the creative process:

“Recent years have shown a growing preoccupation with the circumstances surrounding the creative act and a search for the ingredients that promote creativity. This preoccupation suggests we are in a special kind of trouble — and indeed we are.”

The proliferation of web sites, blogs, MFA programs, and art schools teaching creativity suggests Eames’ concerns have gone unheeded (thankfully). Nevertheless, he was correct to point to the shadow side of constantly striving “for the ingredients that promote creativity.”

It’s not that there’s a problem with the desire to learn

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The “Still Face” video still packs an emotional wallop

When the Washington Post carried a story by Brigid Schulte about the new Institute of Medicine report New Directions In Child Abuse and Neglect Research, Ed Tronick, Ph.D., psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, wrote to her about his research and shared a link to the “Still Face” experiment video. In a recent blog post, Schulte’s reaction to the two-minute video was similar to Jane Stevens’ on this site just about a year ago: It is very hard to watch the infant’s distress build as her mother maintains a “still face” and there is a feeling of deep relief when the young mother returns to her normal expressive self.

While the video packs a wallop, it is still difficult to even begin to fathom the profound impact of child neglect (to say nothing of abuse), according to Schulte. A year ago the video had been viewed over 700,000 times and today that number has risen to well over a million.

Schulte reports that Ed Tronick and others have

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Cornerstone Theater’s “Tangle” weaves childhood trauma into changing harsh school discipline

If you’re in or near Long Beach, CA, the afternoon of Oct. 5, you might want to reserve a seat (it’s free) for a dramatic reading of the play, Tangle, and a conversation about its content and what it means for the punitive approach to  school discipline.

Although I haven’t seen the play, I’ve read the script. It tells the story of how a student’s — and a teacher’s — adverse childhood experiences affect their school lives. This is the first I’ve heard of a play overtly incorporating ACEs as a principle “character”.

The approach that playwright Sigrid Gilmer used to visualize ACEs as the student and teacher interact

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Sexual abuse of nine-year old “Boarding School Boy”: Edward M. Kennedy’s childhood trauma

toughbkIn his book How Children Succeed, Paul Tough mentions that both John and Robert Kennedy attended Riverdale Country School in the Bronx as he introduces the reader to the character initiative of the Riverdale’s headmaster Dominic Randolph. I remembered that Senator Edward M. Kennedy also attended Riverdale and was drawn to re-read the account of his time there in his memoir True Compass. In 1941 when Ted Kennedy was nine

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Children with parents in prison: one ACE* and counting

prison

 

If that isn’t startling enough, check out the rest of this Child Trends infographic, which also points out that 330,000 of the 1.6 million people in prison are there for drug offenses. It describes alternatives, which are being tried in some states: restorative justice, substance abuse treatment services, and training and education.

*ACE = adverse childhood experiences. For an explanation and to figure out your own ACE and resilience scores, go to Got Your ACE Score?

Trauma nation: Has the U.S. become a pharmacracy?

Photo of American flag above graffiti-covered wall.

Medicine is where hope is alive and well in America. During the last 50 years, due to rapid advances in microbiology, many persons who once might have died prematurely, or suffered debilitating diseases or disorders, instead enjoy productive lives, albeit often with chronic illnesses to manage. Through its near-miracle successes, the field has engendered the belief that if we delve deeply enough into the secrets of the human genome (and other microscopic aspects of our bodies) we will eventually escape many afflictions and much suffering — an attitude that seems similar to

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