Polka Dots

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline

I am really excited about the new program that we are starting this year! It is called Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline (VBRD) and focuses on living a virtuous life and repairing any harm that is done. It takes away from the idea of bullying and focuses more on any harm that is done. Most bullying definitions focus on an imbalance of power and repeated behavior. When focusing on bullying, I have run into several problems - parents want you to focus on bullying but don't want to hear it when their child is "accused of bullying". This often leads to a blame game and chasing who "did it first". Parents and students have a hard time taking responsibility if they are seen as "the bully". 

VBRD focuses on any harm done - whether it was repetitive or a one time incident. The idea is that any harm is harm, and should be taken seriously no matter what. And not just focusing on the harm, but on restoring the harm as well.

And the main focus - virtues - ties in so much better to our Catholic school identity than any other character education program. For the previous 5 years as a school counselor, I have used character education materials but have had to add more to them in order for them to fit in with our faith. Now with this program, it's already done for me!

This year, we chose to focus on four virtues from Colossians 3:12-15 - Kindness, Forbearance, Forgiveness, and Unity. We will focus on one each quarter, starting with Kindness. Our overarching theme is "Crusaders for Virtue" since our mascot is the crusader and our goal for the year is "We will be virtuous in our thoughts, words, and deeds." This goal replaces the Kindness Rules that we previously used with the Olweus program.

VBRD will be incorporated into:

Although this program has meant that I have had to redo almost all of my classroom guidance lessons, I really think that it is worth it. With all of the incorporation details that I mentioned above, it feels like much more of a school-wide effort than previous programs have. I am really looking forward to how the program grows and evolves over the next year and into the future. 

For more information about VBRD, please visit the website www.virtuebase.org 

You can also watch this short video which sums up how VBRD works in schools in our area. 

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