We received many powerful essays for the Spring 2014 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"As soon as he noticed that his doorknob was stolen, Mr. Johnson expected that it would be returned in a couple minutes. When it was not returned at all, his jolly and easy-going attitude turned cold and despicable."
- Byung Hyunyi, grade 9, eWay Learning Center, Bothell, Wash.
"I consider myself lucky that the dragon hasn't picked me for her daily 1 o'clock snack."
- Ava Castro, grade 7, Henderson Middle School, Atlanta, Ga.
"When one hears all sides of a story, it is much easier to judge the consequences or decide the next course of action/steps to take. Restorative justice can fundamentally change the lives of students across America."
- Sam Caplan, grade 7, Fieldston Middle School, New York City, N.Y.
"Our right to a public education is a freedom that so many other countries cannot experience, so why does school seem like a prison for so many kids in America?"
- Katrina Bliss, grade 8, Mount Union Area Jr. High School, Huntingdon, Pa.
"Instead of making quick judgments and punishment decisions, you should make every effort to understand the reason for your students' misbehavior. This is critical when you want to treat your students with genuine dignity and respect."
- Douglas Gearhart, grade 8, Mount Union Area Jr. High School, McVeytown, Pa.
"After the fight I went home and our families never talked it out. To this day I continue to avoid that kid because of that one incident. I still do not know what his side is and why he was acting in such a way."
- Anthony Bordanaro, grade 9, Lawrence High School, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.
"He was skinny, rebellious, and quick with a retort to teachers. So when the trash was burnt, all arrows pointed toward him without a second guess."
- Yi Sun, grade 9, Grandville High School, Grandville, Mich.
"Why are we paying the superintendent six figures to make decisions when all he is doing is following protocol? A computer could easily do the job."
- Abbie Davis, grade 12, Central York High School, York, Pa.
"We are all looking for acceptance and a sense of belonging within the walls of our school. When we are able to encourage each other and show respect for everyone, we are able to grow as an individual and as a community."
- Alexis Balanda, grade 12, Central York High School, York, Pa.
"Have you ever seen someone be punched in the face? Well, when I was in 5th grade my friend, Tony, was suspended because he punched another student, Camry, in the face. The suspension didn't help my friend, he came back even angrier!"
- Ivy Cassady-Church, grade 8, Wildflower Open Classroom, Forest Ranch, Calif.
"If it was my choice, I would have put together a restorative justice circle and tried to mend his many wounds, instead of reopening them and making them worse."
- Gillian Ertle, grade 7, Wildflower Open Classroom, Chico, Calif.
"Let's take a time to think about the students who have been suspended without their side of the story being spoken. Do we think that is going to help and change the students' behavior?"
- Tomohiro Shimada, grade 11, Doshisha International Junior Senior High School, Neyagawa, Japan