Restorative Justice leader to present in South Bend

Restorative Justice leader to present in South Bend
Posted on 09/08/2021
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Award-winning speaker will conduct workshops at Rise Up Academy, give evening presentation at Century Center

Mediator, educator, and international speaker Eric Butler, who specializes in Restorative Practices in Education, will conduct day-long workshops for students and staff at Rise Up Academy in South Bend on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, followed by an evening presentation at Century Center at 6:30 p.m.

Titled “Chasing Smoke,” the presentation is free and open to the public, and is designed to bring the community together to better understand the issues surrounding violence in our community and to outline a working plan for reducing violence.

Butler’s visit is made possible through South Bend Alive, a grant awarded by the City of South Bend to Rise Up Academy that focuses on initiatives that reduce incidents of gun violence in the community and provide constructive options for South Bend’s young people.

As a former domestic violence counselor and youth conflict mediator, Butler founded the “Talking Peace” model of restorative justice which involves a set of practices and philosophy that builds relationships through shared values. His work in the area of restorative justice was the subject of an award-winning documentary titled “Circles”, which garnered several international film awards after its release in 2018.

Each of the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) high schools will hold screenings of “Circles” for students and staff in advance of Butler’s visit. Currently, Riley High School and Rise Up Academy employ restorative justice practices and have specially-trained staff to lead the groups.

“Restorative Justice in Education” (RJE) is a relational approach to accountability that is meant to strengthen school culture. The goal of RJE is to teach and foster mutual responsibility and accountability. Often conducted in circles among anyone negatively impacted by another’s actions, restorative justice seeks to build connection among participants through restorative conversations, unpacking the harm done, and calling for amends, while rebuilding positive relationships between students, staff, and families.

Butler’s success with his transformational approach to breaking the cycle of punitive justice has been featured in renowned publications such as the New York Times, and YES! Magazine.

Contact: Susan Guibert, Chief Communications Officer, sguibert@sb.school

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