Videos & Films on Restorative Practices in Schools

Restorative-Solutions-DVD_webThe following are a list of links to videos and films on restorative practices in schools. They cover What It’s About, Circles, Conferencing as they are used in schools to build community and repair harm and include brief descriptions of video content. And, at the bottom is the RJ Colorado award winning film Chasing Smoke. Thanks to Nancy Riestenberg from the Minnesota Department of Education for putting together much of this list. This list of resources is intended for informational purposes and the Minnesota Department of Education and Restorative Solutions do not endorse any of the programs, services or training featured in any of the videos.

Introduction to Restorative Practices in Schools

A Restorative Approach to Discipline (5:02)

From the Office of Social & Emotional Learning at Chicago Public Schools comes this short but powerful overview video of restorative practices in schools. It shows how hard CPS is trying to create a culture of belonging and to enforce discipline in a whole new way. (Secondary Schools)

Restorative Justice in Schools – Restorative Resources (10:45)

An excellent introductory video on restorative practices in schools (based in Sonoma County California) using current statistics on suspensions, interviews with school staff, students, parents, community volunteers, and a school resource officer. Excellent for showing to staff as an overview of what restorative practices is all about. (Secondary Schools)

The “Why” “How” and “What” of Restorative Practices (14:39)

In this video, administration and school staff talk about what restorative practices are, why we use restorative practices and what they look like implemented holistically in a school. (Elementary Schools)

Making Things Right – Restorative Justice for School Communities (23:35)

We produced this video awhile back (2000) but it is still a well done, professionally filmed introductory video on restorative practices in schools (filmed in Colorado & Minnesota). The video highlights different program models including a conferencing, circles and a student-run program. This, too, is an excellent video for showing to staff as an overview of what restorative practices is all about. Originally produced by the Colorado School Mediation Project, which has evolved into Restorative Solutions!

Restorative Processes


Restorative Justice in Oakland Schools: Tier 1 – Community Building Circle (9:31)

Students from MetWest High School (Oakland Unified School District) facilitate, participate in and reflect on a Circle in the classroom to build community and relationships. This video highlights the process and elements of a community building Circle.

Using Dialogue Circles to Support Classroom Management (4:04)

At Glenview Elementary School, dialogue circles are part of a program aimed at building collaboration, respect, and positive behavior among students.

Community Circles (1:52)

A short introduction to the how and why of community building circles at the secondary level. Highlights a very diverse student body.

Restorative Welcome and Re-Entry Circle (13:59)

This video covers a re-entry Circle to welcome a student back to school following an absence due to incarceration and the process of making a plan to support his education going forward. The Circle takes place at Bunche High School (Oakland Unified School District) and the video is a collaboration between OUSD and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth.

Flynn Elementary Kinder Circle (14:15)

Yes, it’s possible for Kindergarteners to sit through a Circle! This video shows how one teacher does it.

The Circle Film (5:01)

A young girl running from her troubles finds herself in a peacemaking Circle with her friends. This video highlights the foundational elements of a peacemaking Circle and the value of using one.


Restorative Justice Introduction: The Conference (5:44)

This video features an overview of the main elements of a restorative conference and how the process was used to repair harm after Ryan Lewis, a student from East Lansing, MI, was attacked by his teammates after football practice.

Restorative Approach Example – Primary School (5:07)

A teacher demonstrates a restorative-based resolution to conflict in a primary school setting. Many subtle but purposeful aspects of the facilitators approach are highlighted – respectful, effective and quick!

Conflict Resolution at Edna Brewer Middle School (5:26)

This video takes you inside a middle school to hear from students and teachers. You will observe students owning, leading, and participating in restorative processes such as fostering shared values and utilizing positive communication in face-to-face discussion.

Whole-School Implementation

Restorative Justice: Let’s Do It Right! (4:57)

Teachers Unite New York City provides an overview of what restorative justice in schools is and isn’t, as well as an overview of the practices and implementation processes.

Restorative Justice and School Culture – The Curley School (11:32)

Co-principal and teachers from Curley K-8 School in Boston, MA discuss the process – challenges and successes – of the whole-school implementation of restorative practices and the power of restorative practices to transform school culture. (Retrieved from Institute for Restorative Initiatives)

Restorative Justice: It’s Elementary! (5:22)

This video provides an overview of restorative practices used in the East Lansing School District in Michigan. The video features input from school staff and administration as well as reflections from a student and parents who participated in a restorative process to address conflict.

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) – RP Videos

  • Introduction to Restorative Practices (15:27)
  • June 2014 Symposium – Panels on Restorative Justice at SFUSD (3 Parts)
  • Student Voices (3:56)

SFUSD’s overview of whole-school restorative principles and practices, a symposium of teachers, administrators and community members speaking on the implementation process, and student input about their experience with restorative practices.

Kids Rethink Documentary 2010 (9:08)

In summer 2010, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools participants began advocating for the implementation of restorative justice in schools as an alternative to suspensions and expulsions.

The Transformation of West Philadelphia High School: A Story of Hope (9:03)

This video from the International Institute for Restorative Practices includes interviews with staff and students of West Philadelphia High School.

Ripples of Relationships: Educating with Restorative Justice (16:30)

This video from the New Foundland organization, RELATIONSHIPS FIRST, Restorative Justice in Education, provides examples of restorative practices for every member of the school community.

Relationship Building

The Power of Relationships in Schools (3:25)

Research shows that students who feel safe and supported by adults at school are better able to learn. This video by Edutopia is excellent.

Making Connections with Greetings at the Door (2:44)

Research shows that greeting students as they come into class bolsters a feeling of belonging and readiness to learn. This video from Edutopia is another great one.

Every Opportunity (3:49)

The Atlanta Speech School released a video called Every Opportunity and the story it depicts is eliciting a strong reaction from teachers and parents. It follows a little boy throughout his day at school and shows how the adults he encounters, from bus driver to teachers, interact with him. It focuses on the ways adults can affect a child’s education through interactions with them. Although the response is varied, there’s no denying the power of its message.

Specific Applications

Lansing Elementary Planning Center (In-School Support Room) (3:18)

This video shows how one elementary school created an In-School Support Room, what they call the Planning Center, so that students can calm down, refocus and make a plan for their behavior to ultimately be able to re-enter the classroom and engage in socially-appro­priate behavior in order to participate and learn.

Theater and Restorative Practices Circles (5:42)

Natalie Medina, a teacher in Panama, talks about why teens like the combination of theater and Circles, the importance of the talking piece and a play young refugees developed out of a Circle conversation.

Bullying: Should People Meet Face to Face? (3:16)

Bullying is a great area of concern, especially in schools. In this video, IIRP Instructor Lee Rush talks about the way restorative practices dovetails with bullying prevention and how to assess, case by case, whether a restorative process is appropriate.

A Story About Restorative Practice in School (7:13)

A secondary school principal chooses to use a restorative conference rather than punitive measures to address a case of bullying and describes the process including preparation, bringing the parties together and the outcome. (Retrieved from Donegal Mediation Network)

Introducing Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (7:40)

Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) staff and youth discuss restorative justice as a method for interrupting cycles of violence among youth, reducing involvement in the juvenile justice system, suspensions and expulsions, and promoting school engagement and positive youth development.

Peer Jury Reduces Flow of Teens from School to Juvenile Justice System (3:38)

A look at the peer jury program implemented by a high school in Peoria, IL with the intention of reducing the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system from school.

Music Videos

One Minute (4:05)

This song is a testament to the challenges many students in our schools are facing, as well as a testament to the fact that the traditional means of responding to students who are struggling in schools are not working.


Restorative Circles (59:41)

Adam Voigt from Real Schools in Australia delivers a wonderful webinar on how to run classroom circles. Basic tenets include: 1) They must serve your learning goals; 2) Engagement is everything; 3) Less Really Is More; 4) Position, Position, Position; 5) Make them scheduled and flexible; and 6) The Special Sauce. More than others, he emphasizes using circles for pedagogical reasons and keeping them short and sweet.

Restorative Practices 2.0-– The Next Phase of Working Restoratively (56:05)

Adam Voigt delivers a powerful tutorial on how we can take restorative practices to the next level by integrating 1) Language, 2) Mindset, and 3) Conduct. Language and conduct create pedagogy; Conduct and Mindset create philosophy; and Mindset and Language create our practical tools.

Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice – Webinars

The Zehr Institute hosts restorative justice-based webinars which are free to the public and cover a wide range of topics including but not limited to restorative justice in schools, RJ in the community, and RJ and the criminal justice system.

Basic RJ Videos

Restorative Justice: Why Do We Need It?

Brave New Films created this animated 3 minute video on RJ. Very nice introduction to the field.

RJ Colorado Award Winning Film 2016

Chasing Smoke 

An absolutely beautiful and deeply moving film about RJ in a school community in Austin, TX. “The way we handle discipline, in our schools, prison and even our homes, is like throwing water on smoke. We see the smoke so we attack smoke, completely ignoring the fire that is completely consuming everything around us. This movie is an attempt to get people to look at the fire rather than just chasing smoke.”

Other Great Videos

Impact of Fresh, Healthy Foods on Learning and Behavior

Food impacts behavior. This is an old film but the message is still worth hearing. The results of offering fresh, healthy foods to students are conclusive and this video shows how one school district changed the way they did business.