Last Thursday, like so many youth and families across the state, staff from the Legal Rights Center tuned into Governor Tim Walz's announcement about the State of Minnesota’s school re-opening plan. Our Y:EARS (Youth Education, Advocacy, and Restorative Services) team partners directly with Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools, and other Hennepin County School Districts to provide school-based restorative services so we were anxious to hear what the Governor had to say about the 2020-21 school year.
Schooling in this pandemic is a difficult task, and it feels that, in many ways, there is no good solution. We worry, like so many advocates, that low-income youth and students from marginalized communities are going to experience the most disparate negative impacts of education during this pandemic.
Regardless of the education model that a school district selects, we believe that a core piece of instruction this school year should be a restorative approach to building relationships and opportunities for processing the events of the last 4 months. There will be no real learning if this space to process is not provided for youth, families and school staff.
Students and educators will need to rely on caring relationships with one another now more than ever. They will need opportunities to share their fears and concerns. They will need to have trusting, open communication to share their successes and challenges when school starts. We remain committed to working with our partners, in schools and in the community, to explore opportunities to provide restorative facilitation services to meet this need in the upcoming school year.
2020 has reminded us that being in right relationships with one another is crucial not only for individual wellbeing but for community wellbeing. We are committed to creatively adapting restorative approaches to support the development and maintenance of positive relationships for the youth, families, and partners that we work with in Minneapolis, St. Paul and across the Metro.
LRC staff include attorneys and advocates from a range of background and lived experiences.
The Legal Rights Center
1611 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
P: 612-337-0030 F: 612-337-0797
The Legal Rights Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit financially supported by: the State of Minnesota, foundations, local law firms, corporations and individuals. Clients are never charged for our services.