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Northwest Schools uses ‘peaceful solutions,’ not detention, for misbehaving elementary students

Whitney Miller, WCPO |

At Northwest Local School District, elementary school students don’t get sent straight to the principal’s office for misbehavior. They’re more likely to be asked about their feelings — an approach that Taylor Elementary principal Lori Riehle believes is much better for preventing future incidents, fostering positive feelings about school and building trust between students and staff.

“We’ve done a lot of work here at Taylor around educating the entire child and taking a whole-child approach,” she said Monday. “We believe strongly that we’re not going to get the student achievement that we want out of them until they are in what we call their ‘upstairs brain’ and we address some of the social and emotional issues that they have.”

Her school and two others in the district — Struble Elementary and Pleasant Run Elementary — have partnered with the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati for three years to make sure their students get opportunities to grow when they make a mistake.

Their shared program is called Peaceful Solutions, and its central component is the Peaceful Solution circle: A short YWCA-hosted counseling session in which students are encouraged to share their feelings with others in the circle.

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