Restorative School Discipline: The Law and Practice

school discipline
30 Mar 2020

About this publication

The increasing lack of discipline in South African schools and the impact thereof is well known. In most instances, existing punitive measures do not yield the required results. Yet, schools continue to scramble to find alternative punishments that will result in a disciplined environment conducive to teaching and learning. Albert Einstein rightly said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

Restorative School Discipline: The Law and Practice seeks to provide an alternative approach to discipline. However, to implement this approach, a complete mind-shift is required. This mind set requires an understanding that to discipline learners is to teach socially acceptable behaviour. The restorative approach entails moving away from an approach that merely focuses on the ill-disciplined learner to an approach that focuses on preventing disciplinary problems, changing the culture of the school and restoring the harm done to those affected by the misconduct. The restorative approach involves focusing on finding solutions to address the needs and interests of all the role-players in the school community, rather than finding suitable punishments. Thus, focusing on the best interests of every learner as well as those of educators. Restorative discipline is a value-driven approach that respects the human rights of every stakeholder and also protects, promotes and fulfils everyone’s human rights.

This book explains the restorative approach to discipline in detail. The role of every stakeholder in the implementation of this approach also receives attention. Furthermore, it highlights the social justice implications as well as the impact of discipline on the neurological functioning and development of the child.

Restorative School Discipline: The Law and Practice provides practical advice for SGB’s, educators, school social workers and other role-players, such as the Department of Basic Education, on how to implement the restorative approach to discipline. It also examines the Constitutional imperatives and the legal framework related to school discipline. This ground-breaking book will provide guidance for school administrators, practitioners and academics on this innovative school discipline practice.

Contents include

  • My journey towards restorative discipline
  • Rethink discipline
  • Restorative discipline
  • The restorative discipline model
  • Social justice and discipline in South African education
  • Assumptions, values and norms
  • Trauma-sensitive schools: understanding troubled learners through the neuroscience lens
  • Resilience and the circle of courage
  • The role of the school governing body in disciplinary measures
  • ​​​The role of educators in school discipline
  • ​​​​​​The role of the school social worker in school discipline
  • The role of parents in school discipline
  • The role of the department of basic education and provincial education departments in school discipline
  • Youth leaders in school discipline
  • Measures to enhance co-operation between the school Governing body and departments of education
  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • School discipline and crime

Of interest and benefit

  • SGB’s, educators and school social workers;
  • practitioners and academics; and
  • other stakeholders, such as the Department of Basic Education.

General information

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About authors

Prof Mariëtte Reyneke (ed) practised law at the Bloemfontein Bar before she joined the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State. In the past, she served as faculty manager, Programme Director for the LLB and BCom law programmes and was the manager of the Unit for Children’s Rights. She is passionate about education law and children’s rights, and teaches it at the Faculty of Education and Centre for Human Rights. Mariëtte teaches several modules on undergraduate level and provides study guidance to master and PhD students. She has delivered numerous papers across the world, published in national and international journals and acted as guest editor on a special issue of the Journal for Juridical Science on education law. She did her PhD at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands on ‘The best interests of the child in school discipline in South Africa’. She provides training workshops to educators on restorative discipline with her husband, Roelf. Mariëtte serves on the executive committee of the Interuniversity Centre for Education Law and Policy and is currently the vice-president of the South African Education Law Association.

Prof Roelf Reyneke (ed) is the Programme Director of the Programme for Social Service Professions in the Department of Social Work at the University of the Free State. At undergraduate level, he teaches welfare law, anti-discriminatory social work, supervision, management and ethics as well as adventure-based counselling. At a post-graduate level, he provides study guidance to master’s and PhD students. Roelf has a passion for school social work and has trained hundreds of teachers in how to work restoratively with learners. He has published chapters in books as well as various articles in scientific journals. He has presented papers nationally and internationally, and his main research areas of interest include school social work, restorative practices and adventure-based counselling. Roelf is also involved in the training of student facilitators on campus to facilitate discussions on difficult topics.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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