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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Dayton Public Schools Looking at New Approach to Discipline

DAYTON -- There's a new approach to helping Dayton school students.

Dayton Public Schools is changing the way it handles discipline in the district.

It's called restorative justice.

And it means talking with students, supporting them and guiding them through their school career.

It's meant to be used instead of suspending or expelling a student.

It's already being used in two Dayton Public Schools; this year it will be used in eight more.

"It's developing relationships with students and interacting so that they change behavior before they get into a situation of being suspended and taken out of school," said Lori Ward, superintendent for Dayton Public Schools.

Restorative justice uses teachers, secretaries, parents -- anyone who is involved in a student's life to sit down with him or her and talk through the problems, whether it's with grades, discipline or crime.

"Instead of kids getting suspended left and right, it actually talks to them, actually makes them understand what they've done," said Matthew Colosimo, a high school senior in Dayton Public School District.

"After a certain while you get used to getting suspended and then it turns into a vacation. 'Oh I'm just gonna be gone for three days or five days or however many'," said Cameron Simmons, who graduated from Oakland School District.

Cameron was suspended more than 150 times while in school in Oakland, California, where the initiative was created, but he says the restorative justice philosophy at his high school changed his life.

"I was no longer getting into trouble in the streets, I was no longer a 'menace to society,' I became a productive member of society," said Simmons.

His success is what Dayton Public Schools officials hope to achieve for their students.

"There's good kids, they just get messed up in the wrong things, so I'm very anxious and excited to see how it goes," said Colosimo.

Restorative justice will be used district-wide starting in 2017, as long as the district continues to be able to support it financially.

 
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