Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Restorative Justice League of Le Grand High School jumps in to save the day

Restorative justice works!

ACEs Too High

A teen starts a fistfight with a fellow student. Another brings alcohol to school. Another urinates on a fellow student’s locker, and a fight ensues.

Three years ago at Le Grand High School, in Le Grand, CA, these students would have been immediately expelled or suspended. This year, they weren’t. They didn’t miss any classes. They made amends. They learned from their mistakes.

In 2010-2011, Principal Javier Martinez suspended 49 students and expelled six. Last year, he suspended 15 and expelled only one.

This school year, with the help of the Restorative Justice League, he’s going for double zeros.

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Le Grand High School is tucked on the edge of a town so tiny it has not one traffic light. Orchards and fields

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Monthly Peace Challenge: I Have a Dream

This speech can never be heard too many times– perpetually relevant.

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Peace is spreading.Last month’s peace challenge had more participants than any other peace challenge this year! (So many people posted for peace that I have not gotten to all the posts yet. Sorry, I’m a bit behind due to back to back conferences.) We are also adding new bloggers for peace everyday thanks to the Daily Post Blog Events listing. I can feel the momentum of peace shifting. Let’s keep the ball rolling.

To help inspire the Bloggers for Peace (B4Peace), we will have a Monthly Peace Challenge. To participate, tag your post with B4Peace and make sure you copy your URL to the Linkz collection. Anyone who completes all twelve Monthly Peace Challenges will receive a Free B4Peace T-shirt.

It has been a little over 50 years since Martin Luther King gave his famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. One of my favorite parts…

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Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse- Ken Shapiro

The Animals and Society Institute is a great organization for many reasons– one of which is their focus on providing specialized treatment for those convicted of animal abuse (their AniCare Program). Another is their long-standing focus on the interrelationships among different forms of violence.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month has just come to an end, but I wanted to share Dr. Shapiro’s latest blog post about the connections between animal abuse and domestic violence. Here is the link, and the text is below:

Paramedics initially responded to a recent report of a woman being bitten by a dog at an apartment in a dilapidated building in Queens, New York. Once there, the emergency responders witnessed a 29-year-old man physically assaulting his 28-year-old female partner. Police found evidence of animal cruelty and danger to four children, ages 7-11.

According to news reports, the children were placed in temporary custody in the city’s Administration for Children Services. The City Animal Care and Control removed and are caring for five dogs, 10 puppies, two boa constrictors and a lizard from the home.

Neighbors stated that they had called the police on several occasions to report that the couple was fighting but that the police had not responded. The landlord reported that the tenants owed him several thousand dollars for past rent and damages to the apartment.

As we near the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we return to a topic with which readers of the ASI Diary are familiar – the relationships between human violence and animal abuse. The above account of a recent incident illustrates several points worth noting.

Domestic violence and animal abuse typically occur in a dysfunctional family system. That system is complex, interweaving many factors and conditions: legal, cultural, economic, familial, intrapersonal and constitutional.

The relationships between human violence and animal abuse often are patterned in the form of a vicious cycle. Animal abuse is frequently used as a controlling device in dysfunctional domestic relationships. Abused animals are more likely to be aggressive toward humans. Children who are abused are more likely to abuse animals. Children who witness animal abuse or domestic violence are more likely to themselves to abuse animals and to bully classmates and future human partners. They are also prone to anxiety symptoms similar to those seen in post-traumatic stress disorder. 

These several intra- and extra-generational and -species relationships and others in the literature help explain the intransigence of violence and the necessity of dealing with it on various levels: educational, legal and psychotherapeutic, among others.

One other interesting point in the present incident is particularly telling for the issue of domestic violence. According to several newspaper accounts of the New York incident, the authorities failed to respond to earlier reports of domestic violence but did respond to the “dog bites woman” call for help. Apparently, despite considerable progress in the past few decades in recognizing domestic violence as a serious public health and legal issue, aggressive animals are considered a greater threat than aggressive humans. This is a disservice to the victims of domestic violence and a bad rap for the animals.

– Ken Shapiro

Such important food for thought– and for action!