In an effort to be an anti-racist institution that values each member of our community, Milton has created a forum for sharing grievances/and or complaints of bias incidents that impact the well-being of our community.
Responding to the Needs of our Community through Restorative Practice & the Bias Incident Protocol
It is important to note that Restorative Practices and Principles are not new but extend across many Indigenous peoples including the First Nations of North America–and the Milton community is incredibly indebted to them for their gifts. Through their holistic vision, the community and the individual must value and respect all members. Communities must acknowledge the importance of responsibility and reciprocity in the instance of harm and remain steadfast in responding to individuals in order to build a caring and just community. As a result, Milton Academy will implement a mechanism that will give each member of the community a voice in sharing their concerns, complaints, and/or grievances. This mechanism is the Bias Incident Protocol that will be a step towards reconciliation and rebuilding relationships so important to Milton’s growth. This mechanism is meant to respond to and repair harm. It is not evaluative in any way. The Bias Incident Protocol is also meant for self-accountability. Individuals can choose to use this process to ask for a thought partner and/ or advice about a Bias Incident from anyone in the Trusted Adult Group (TAG). Furthermore, these practices will help in creating the foundations of an anti-racist school that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
Bias Incident Report: A mechanism to foster agency through communication
The protocol is designed to address any interaction, intentional or unintentional, that impacts someone in a harmful way due to their marginalized identity in the context of the United States.
The protocol is created to achieve the following goals:
- To inform all involved parties that an incident has occurred.
- To address and repair harm.
- To build community and relationships.
- To encourage a culture of trust based on honest feedback and kindness.
- To grow as an anti-racist community in partnership with one another.
The protocol will support all involved parties through conversations with a team of employees called the Trusted Adult Group (TAG).
Bias Incident Report: Process
TAG, or trusted adult group, serves as the response team for the Bias Incident Protocol, developed to address any interaction, intentional or unintentional, that impacts someone in a harmful way due to their marginalized identity in the context of the United States. When a bias incident report is submitted, the reporter selects two individuals from TAG with whom they would like to have an initial conversation. The TAG members contact the reporter, using the TAG email templates, within two days of the report and set up a time to hold this conversation. The conversation follows the framework of a restorative dialogue:
- What happened? What were you thinking and feeling at the time?
- What have you thought and felt since?
- Who has been affected by what happened and how? How have you been affected?
- What about this has been the hardest for you?
- What do you think needs to be done to make things as right as possible?
After this initial conversation, the TAG members submit a summary of the conversation (TAG summary form) and contact the person who has committed harm, who then chooses the TAG members with whom they would like to have a conversation. The TAG members who speak with the person who has caused harm also use the restorative dialogue as a guideline and submit the summary of their conversation in a form.
As a whole, restorative justice practices center the needs of the person who has incurred harm and follow their lead in order to make things as right as possible. The process is adaptive and variable. Resolution could include but is not limited to: separate conversations between TAG and the person harmed and the person who caused harm; some form of written or verbal apology; a mediated conversation; or a harm circle. How the process unfolds depends on the needs of the person harmed and the consent of all involved parties.