Including Disability: Making Circles a Place for All

We know that children with disabilities often face social, academic and physical exclusion in the educational system and beyond. In addition, they face greater punishment as reflected in higher rates of suspensions, expulsions and arrests. Further, they are the most likely to be bullied. And, at the intersection of race, class and disability, the inequalities are more pronounced. We argue that as we explore inclusion in the educational system and push back in the juvenile justice system, we must also develop and insure that restorative justice practices are inclusive for children with disabilities so that they can comfortably participate in “community building” and garner the benefits of a more positive pathway. In this presentation, we explore: 1) Understanding invisible disabilities in school and in circles; 2) Discuss universal design approaches to circles; and, 3) The need and benefit of a whole-school approach to restorative justice practices for youth with disabilities and for all youth.