Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

School District 49

First Presenter’s Email Address

First Presenter's Brief Biography

Dr. Louis L. Fletcher is the Executive Director of Facilities and Operations for El Paso County Colorado School District 49. He leads transportation, nutrition services, facility maintenance, and capital construction project management professionals serving over 28,000 PK-12 Students. Prior to becoming Executive Director, he was the Director of Culture and Services for School District 49; developed and implemented district-wide education, outreach, and training to promote a culture of inclusion, equity, and respect. Prior to coming to District 49, he was the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Webster University’s Denver Metro campus. Previously he was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Western Region of Troy University where he was responsible for leading the academic programs offered at 10 campuses in the western United States and Northeast Asia. Dr. Fletcher served as an officer in the United States Air Force for 20 years in locations such as Korea, Greece, France, and Germany; his final assignment was as the founding dean of the Advanced Space Operations School in Colorado Springs.

Second Presenter's Institution

School District 49 (Colorado)

Second Presenter’s Email Address

Second Presenter's Brief Biography

Mr. David Watson has been with District 49 since 2007 and serves as the Director of Safety and Security. His previous background includes 21 years as a police officer and Sheriff’s Deputy (Retired), and as a Staff Sergeant in the Colorado Army National Guard. He attended Colorado Technical University and Rio Salado Community College. Mr. Watson is passionate about school safety and is on the Officer’s Board as the secretary for the Colorado Association of School Safety Law Enforcement Officers (CASSLEO) and is an active advocate for school safety procedures both in the Pike’s Peak region, as well as statewide.


Session 1 Breakout (Ballroom B)

Strand #1

Hands: Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Health: Mental & Physical Health


The proposal relates to "Safety and Violence Prevention" because the tools and techniques of restorative practices proactively create the conditions for less conflict by building relationships and supporting an ongoing dialogue. Although expectations are always high, they are also communicated clearly and consistently. Restorative practices facilitate an environment where rules can be challenged by the community respectfully and changed if necessary. Restorative practices can be used to defuse conflict and reduce bullying behavior as well. Restorative discipline techniques should be shared with school resource officers and school security personnel to shape their engagement with students and staff to be respectful and productive relationships based on trust. The proposal relates to "Mental & Physical Health" because restorative practices create an improved school climate where student voices are respected when decisions that impact the students' lives are made. The presentation also includes ideas and examples of why it is important to the mental health of students and security personnel to build a mutually understood and accepted restorative environment. If we were teaching students to swim, we would not pair them with adults that don't know how to swim; therefore, we must have adults "walking the talk" proactively to prevent inappropriate discipline interactions. Restorative practices also require emotional intelligence and mindfulness to evaluate the creation of fair processes because, should proactive measures fail, the aforementioned are required to heal harm and apply accountability-based learning in lieu of stigmatizing punishment that marginalizes students.

Brief Program Description

The Executive Director of Facilities & Operations and the Director of Safety & Security for a Colorado School district with 27,000 students will share tools, techniques, and experiences, which have cultivated restorative practices (RP) in their district. The presenters will discuss the effectiveness of proactive techniques for training SROs and school security officers to provide successful restorative alternatives to traditional discipline approaches with the goal of helping participants evaluate whether getting rid of SROs versus retraining their approach to student discipline is the best alternative.


Restorative practices (RP) are evidence-based techniques that leverage multiple disciplines within the social sciences (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, etc.). RP is often narrowly defined as restorative justice and the associated reintegrative restorative circles, but that is only a single aspect of RP. Restorative practices are proactive strategies that establish a fair process and high expectations to increase community understanding and engagement. Circles and conferences can be used proactively to facilitate lessons in the classroom or to support strategic planning in a community, which destigmatizes restorative circles when they are needed to address harm. The goal of restorative justice is to separate the 'deed from the doer', but RP establishes a culture and climate that mitigates the conditions for having a deed or a doer. The practice of RP is highly identified with school environments, but the presenters have experienced RP’s role in creating a more productive workplace. Conflict resolution and emotional intelligence are aspects of RP that make workplace leadership more effective as well. The adults in the school building must ensure that their approach to students is restorative for the main effect to be experienced. When this dynamic breaks down student dysregulation is the result and the probability of violence toward students by staff increases. The defund the police movement recognizes the latter with the charter to decrease the scope of police action through funding cuts; however, that action could leave a population less protected. The presenters' thesis is not to "defund the police" but retrain the security network's approach to engaging with the community by infusing restorative practices.


Recent studies have concluded that exclusionary discipline practices, such as suspension, might be impeding student success. Correlational studies have shown a link between suspension and lower student achievement (Skiba et al., 2014), and suspensions are associated with involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems (Fabelo et al., 2011; González, 2012). One study found suspension to be the top predictor of students dropping out of school (Flannery, 2015). Correlational data show that, in the United States, controlling for demographic and academic variables (e.g., family income, immigration status, test scores), the estimated graduation rate for suspended students was 68 percent, compared with 80 percent for non-suspended students (Rumberger and Losen, 2016). Harsh discipline for minor or subjective infractions has contributed to high suspension rates. Some studies have found that most offenses for which students are suspended are nonviolent (Skiba et al., 2014), including tardiness, absence, and disrespect (González, 2012). Additionally, studies show that African American students are suspended at higher rates than white students. A report from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, documented large racial disparities in California’s school districts, noting that African American students were disproportionately dealt the harshest exclusionary penalties (Losen, Martinez, and Gillespie, 2012). A study of three years of discipline data from the state of Arkansas found that while school-level differences accounted for most of the variation in discipline, African American students received longer punishments than their white peers for the same offenses, even in the same schools (Anderson and Ritter, 2017). The use of restorative practices in schools has been suggested by policymakers and practitioners as both an alternative to exclusionary practices and as a mechanism for improving student behavior, thus reducing the need for suspensions. Restorative practices grew out of the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system. Restorative justice relies on the basic notion that people are connected through a web of relationships and that when harm occurs between people, the web of relationships that creates a community is torn (Zehr, 2002). In practice, restorative justice brings together victims and offenders to discuss the harm, the impact it had, and what needs to be done to reestablish the relationships that form the community (Zehr, 2002; González, 2012). Restorative practices in schools include many specific program types and do not have one monolithic definition in the literature; they are broadly seen as a nonpunitive approach to handling conflict (Fronius et al., 2016). Restorative practices both prevent harm through relationship-building and respond to conflict in ways that repair damaged relationships (González, 2012; Kline, 2016).

A number of descriptive reports and correlational studies suggest positive outcomes of implementing restorative practices in schools (Riestenberg, 2003; Mirsky, 2007; Baker, 2008; McCold, 2008; Lewis, 2009; Sumner, Silverman, and Frampton, 2010; Gonzalez, 2012, 2015; Simson, 2012; Armour, 2013, 2016; McMorris et al., 2013; Jain et al., 2014; Gregory et al., 2016). These include lower suspension rates, improved school climate, and improved student attendance. However, none of these studies used experimental methods, which raises questions about the validity and generalizability of their findings.

G. McCluskey et al in Educational Review (excerpt)

Restorative Practices were originally developed as restorative justice, an approach to crime that focussed on repairing harm and giving a voice to ‘‘victims’’ (Bazemore and Umbreit 2001; Barton 2000; Marshall 1998; Fattah and Peters 1998; Barnett 1977). RP in education differs from restorative justice in that the latter involves professionals working exclusively with young people who offend. In RP in education, the whole school community, all school staff, pupils and sometimes parents, can be involved (Hopkins 2004). Restorative Justice in the school setting views misconduct not as school-rule-breaking, and therefore as a violation of the institution, but as a violation against people and relationships in the school and wider community. (Cameron and Thorsborne 2001, 183) In many countries, it has developed through the use of restorative conferencing; a structured approach to restoring relationships when there has been harm, that involves offenders, victims, and key others in a process designed to resolve difficulties and repair relationships (Morrison 2007). The largest independent evaluation of restorative justice in schools in the UK to date, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales, reported on a pilot initiative in which youth offending teams worked with 26 schools in England and Wales (Bitel 2005). The aims of the initiative were to reduce offending, bullying and victimization and to improve attendance, largely through restorative conferencing. Mirroring findings elsewhere (Blood 2005; Chmelynski 2005; Drewery 2004), there was found to be little impact on some outcome measures such as exclusion and no significant improvement in pupil attitudes except in the small number of schools where a whole school approach had been adopted. However, the researchers concluded that restorative justice in schools, while ‘‘ not a panacea… [could] if implemented correctly…improve the school environment, enhance learning and encourage young people to become more responsible and empathetic’’ (Bitel 2005, 13).

Learning Objective 1

The participants will be able to discriminate between restorative practices and zero-tolerant practices associated with training members of the security network.

Learning Objective 2

The participants will understand how restorative practices operate effectively in a healthy school climate.

Learning Objective 3

The participants will understand how defunding the security network could negatively impact a school district's culture.

Keyword Descriptors

Restorative Practices, Defund the Police, Retrain the Police, Community Policing, School Climate & Culture, Mental Health, Respectful Environments

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-6-2023 10:15 AM

End Date

3-6-2023 11:30 AM


Mar 6th, 10:15 AM Mar 6th, 11:30 AM

Develop Restorative Capacity, Don't Defund Your Safety Network

Session 1 Breakout (Ballroom B)

The Executive Director of Facilities & Operations and the Director of Safety & Security for a Colorado School district with 27,000 students will share tools, techniques, and experiences, which have cultivated restorative practices (RP) in their district. The presenters will discuss the effectiveness of proactive techniques for training SROs and school security officers to provide successful restorative alternatives to traditional discipline approaches with the goal of helping participants evaluate whether getting rid of SROs versus retraining their approach to student discipline is the best alternative.