Vantage Pointe’s vision is “a community unified by our differences.” This is a standard toward which we believe all people strive. Difference–of belief, of opinion, of experience, background, even difference due to an illegal act–is the great given among human beings. And it may be our most precious attribute. Think of it. The evolution of species, to adapt to changing environments, depends upon difference. So too does the evolution of human society.
This is why democracy among forms of government is the most desired around the world. Citizens of democracies don’t presume superiority based on differences. Instead, they wish to empathize, and to be empathized with, to care, and to be cared about, to extend benefit of the doubt and to earn that same benefit from others. We wish these things because our best selves are a function of society’s best. And society’s best has a stake in all its citizens’.
Thus, restorative justice programs refuse to judge the circumstances under which a child committed an illicit act. They instead offer a pathway toward reconciliation, not just between the student offender and his or her community, but also between the community and the offender. The student learns, thereby, and improves their life, and, likewise, from the student the community learns and the community, too, evolves.
Ultimately we all learn how differences are the most potent source of more unified communities.