New Jersey Department of Education

Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program-Year 2

Division: Educational Services

Office:  Student Support Services

View Published NGO Document (Microsoft Word)  


The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), in accordance with P.L.2019, c. 412, was required to establish a three-year pilot program to implement trauma-informed restorative justice practices in public schools. “Restorative justice,” as defined in the legislation, means “a system of dispute resolution tools that allow all parties of a dispute to be involved in defining the harm and devising remedies while giving the necessary attention to community safety, victims’ needs, and the need for offender accountability.” Restorative justice practices include, but need not be limited to, student or community court, restorative circles, mediation, and conferencing. A “trauma-informed approach,” as defined in the legislation, means “an approach that recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in students, families, staff, and others, and which responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices for the purposes of promoting resiliency and healing, resisting the recurrence of trauma, and improving educational outcomes.”

Conditions addressed under this Pilot Program:

  1. Reduce racial disparities in school discipline which result in an inequitable loss of classroom time among certain student groups, thereby boosting the academic outcomes of these students.
  2. Improve the socioemotional and behavioral responses of students through more appropriate and less punitive interventions, thereby establishing a more supportive and inclusive school culture.
  3. Reduce recidivism rates among students who violate the school district code of conduct through more effective and targeted restorative justice interventions.

Populations to be served:

During Year 1 of this pilot program, the Commissioner selected 15 districts equally representative of each of the southern, central, and northern regions of the State to participate. Since then, one district has elected to discontinue its participation in the project. Year 2 of this pilot program will continue to involve the remaining 14 districts selected in Year 1 and representative of the southern, central, and northern regions of the State.

This is a Year 2 of a three year grant program. One Year 2 continuation award will be made and is open to the applicant (Kean University) selected through a competitive process in Year 1. The applicant may apply for up to $500,000.

Based on the availability of state appropriations, the Year 2 grant program will begin April 1, 2022 and end on March 31, 2023.

Eligible Agencies: Kean University

Approximate Number of Awards: 1        Grant Program Type: Continuation

Total Amt. Available $500,000                Application Due  Date: 3/22/2022



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