Restorative Justice looks to help students get back on track


Julissa Reyes

Every week, Ivonne Casillas and Jessica Magdalano meetup to talk about Magdaleno’s issues as a student. “If it weren’t for the program I’d be under a lot more stress,” Magdaleno said. “I feel much more updated with what I needed help with.”

Since Covid, communities have been struggling with getting back on track to normal life. Restorative Justice is a program that started this past June in order to address those issues.  

Margarita Garcia and Yvonne Casillas are the support staff that are there to help.  “The kids on campus inspired us to open up the program,” Garcia said. “Whatever they need, we are there to voice their concerns.”

So what is Restorative Justice About? The main components are to restore, repair, reintegrate, and teach respect. Instead of solving someone’s problems, support staff are there to help them solve them on their own. “Our main goal is a safe zone for students and our community,” Garcia said. “Our main priority is equality.” 

Restorative Justice helps students with suspension and attendance rates; while helping everyone else with their social and emotional learning. “We help students with a better understanding of coping skills, setting smart goals, or helping them find the best support staff on site who can support their needs,” Garcia said.  

Anyone can meet with staff one-on-one, to check up on grades and a student’s future. They are also working on group circles, to get everybody more involved in the community. Sophomore Jessica Magdaleno meets up with Casillas weekly to talk about her personal life and issues. “We usually talk about academics and my personal life,” Magdaleno said. “Food, gossip-anything that distracts me and makes me feel better.” 

Since itit is a new program on site, many students are just getting familiar with it. “We are trying to incorporate the program in school presentations like in CCR activities, as well as setting up a table during lunch,” Casillas said. 

The Restorative Justice program is located in room B21A. “Students, parents, teachers, and everyone in the community are welcome to come in. Nothing is needed to .sign up.” Casillas said. Every day there are different students that come in, either voluntarily or sent by teachers through administration with referral. The two support staff see around 15 people weekly, depending on the amount of suspensions or referrals. 

The program is open everyday except on holidays, from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Once people come in they can be scheduled weekly to talk to either Garcia or Casillas.