MHS Restorative Justice Hosts Open House

MHS Restorative Justice Hosts Open House
Posted on 06/15/2022

Montclair High School’s Restorative Justice held an Open House on Tues., June 14 showcasing new spaces for students and staff. Members of the community, students, parents and district staff enjoyed walking tours of the school campus before convening for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Student Drop-In Center is a space open during lunch period for all students, staffed by a counselor. “One of the things that students expressed was the need for a location where they could feel safe, get support, talk to someone and grab a snack,” explained Assistant Principal Mirta Alsina. The space was previously used as storage among other things but Principal Jeffrey Freeman said “it was a no brainer,” to utilize the room and recreate it for something so impactful.

drop in center  student drop in center

The Restorative Justice Circle Space is located in the Media Center. Staff and Peer Leadership students who have been trained in Restorative Justice can use the space. “This is just another example of something we’ve created after listening to students’ needs,” said Freeman. “We want students to feel welcome and want to be at school. A culture of positivity is something we try to model for our students.”

RJ Circle room  RJ circle room

RJ circle room

The Mobile Library is located outside across from the George Inness Annex. It is free and open for students and the greater community to leave a book/take a book. Currently the space has a variety of books about Restorative Justice.

mobile library

The Student Serenity Room is a quiet, “zen,” space for students to meet with a Student Assistance Counselor. It is designed for students to feel safe and be a place to decompress away from the regular day-to-day noise of school. “When we reached out to students and staff about their needs are, the overarching theme has been that they want a sense of belonging, and these spaces are a culmination of what we’ve done this year to address that,” said Alsina.

serenity room

The newly created Farm to Table Garden features a variety of freshly grown produce tended to by students.

  farm to table garden

Following the tours, Freeman and MHS-RJ Teacher on Special Assignment Gayl Shepard cut the ceremonious ribbon to mark the official opening of all the new spaces. “This has been a labor of love,” said Shepard, who specifically thanked the students involved in Restorative Justice for their help in creating these spaces. “We wanted to take the needs of staff and students seriously,” she added. “Not just talk about their needs – respond to them. This is a manifestation of a vision we had and now we get to live the experience of that vision.”

ribbon cutting

More photos from the Open House

Board members pose  farm to table sign

guests arrive for open house walking tour

RJ students group

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