The Blocks Together Youth Council won an important victory in their Push Back on Pushout at Orr Campaign last week; the Orr Academy administration started referring cases to the school peer jury! Over 13 days of suspension have been avoided in the three weeks since the program was put in use! The freshman jurors, who were trained by BT in October, were excited to hear their first cases last week after going to the press in February about the lack of administrative support for their program.
It was around this time last year that Blocks Together Youth Council members first testified publicly on the extreme zero tolerance measures at Orr High School and their struggle for Restorative Justice. They had presented a petition to and met with the new principal on behalf of the student body, calling for actually using the existing peer jury, a Restorative Justice program where students help their peers understand the harm caused and come up with a plan for how they will make up for it instead of being suspended.
The peer jury was started by teachers and students with the support of Blocks Together as the community partner for the program back in 2009.