Restorative Justice and Schools


Nancy Riestenberg has over twenty-five years of experience in the fields of violence prevention education, child sexual abuse prevention and restorative measures in schools. She has worked with school districts in Minnesota and 20 other states, and speaks nationally on restorative measures at conferences and through trainings. She provides technical assistance on violence and bullying prevention, school connectedness, school climate, disproportionate minority representation in suspensions and expulsions dropout prevention, cultural relevance of prevention education, crisis prevention and recovery and restorative measures.

Nancy was a member of the design team for the National Institute of Corrections’ restorative conferencing curriculum, Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences. She presented at the Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Schools Seminar at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to coming to the Minnesota Department of Education, Nancy worked for twelve years with the Illusion Theater’s Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, which created and toured educational plays on child sexual abuse, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention education. She coordinated the adaptation of Touch, the child sexual abuse prevention play, for the Red Lake People, and trained high school students in twenty different school districts in eight states to present social issue prevention plays to their peers.

Nancy is author of Circle in The Square, a bestselling book published by Living Justice Press. She writes warmly and with long experience about the challenges facing school communities and how restorative measures¬ specifically Circles¬ create a safer space for learning and development for all. Using stories direct from the hallways, she brings heart to subjects that are often divisive and controversial: bullying and other violence, suspension, drug use, staff conflicts, and more. Throughout the book, Nancy s focus is on strategies that actually work for the whole school community: students, parents, administrators, teachers, and the community in which they live.


  1. Kim

    My child in California was just put through a Restorative Justice measure that I was told not a discipline problem by any means. My 5’1″ daughter was cyberbullied by a boy and he threatened to kill my daughter. The boy who is 6’1″ tall and 250lbs said my daughter was the bully. In front of my daughters bully my dyslexic Learning Challenged daughter was told to sign a behavior contract that said I will behave in an appropriate matter. All my daughter did was tell a teacher and she was punished by signing a contract she could not read and no one read it to her. I was told she was not disiplined because the school did a restorative justice measure. My child is now seeing a therapist and is having anxiety attacks. Please explain to me how this resorative justice measure helps a victim? Kim Volstorff

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