At This Oakland High School, Restorative Justice Goes Far Beyond Discipline

Five years ago, Fremont High in East Oakland had some of the highest discipline and lowest attendance rates in the city. Fights and conflicts were common. Only 1 in 4 graduates were qualified to attend public college in California. One in 3 dropped out entirely.

But Fremont High is – literally – a different place now. With a newly rebuilt campus and an intensive focus on improving campus climate, Fremont has seen its enrollment jump 20% even as districtwide enrollment has dropped, and the number of students who qualify for college admission has nearly tripled.

Much of the credit, students and administrators say, goes to a restorative justice program that’s evolved beyond its original mission of resolving disputes to encompass a total transformation of school culture.

“If you grew up around here, you remember when Fremont had a horrible reputation,” said Tatiana Chaterji, the school’s restorative justice facilitator. “But we’ve worked so hard on building community, relationships, trust. I really feel we’ve made a difference. I feel so proud. Honestly, to see where we are now, it’s a dream come true.”

Read more about Fremont H.S. restorative justice program

YouTube video “Restorative Virtual Circles”