CYS Success Story
Two 12-year old boys who attend the same middle school, were playing after school. The boys were playing and Joshua pushed Kevin off the wall he was sitting on. Kevin suffered two broken arms from the fall.
Joshua was arrested for battery and referred to CYS restorative justice diversion by the Los Angeles Police Department.
In the aftermath of the incident, Joshua was not informed of the extent of Kevin’s injuries.
The school provided no information to either family, leaving each with many unanswered questions.
Joshua and his family readily agreed to meet so that Joshua could make things right with Kevin.
When CYS case manager, Malia Lemonious Dinkins, called Kevin’s mother to discuss the option of a restorative justice session at CYS, she jumped at the chance. Kevin’s mother reported that her son has autism, and did not believe it was a situation of bullying because Kevin had felt like they were playing and all was well just before the push. She also reported that Kevin kept asking “Why did he push me?” and really needed resolution on what happened, but the school was providing no answers.
When the boys and their families met, what became very clear was this was an accident of 12 year-old boys playing around. Joshua had no harmful intentions and was worried about Kevin and wondered what had happened to him. He felt awful hearing about how both of Kevin’s arms were broken, preventing him from being able to play baseball and so many other activities while he healed.
The boys agreed that to repair the harm and resolve the incident, Joshua would write a formal letter of apology letter to Kevin where he acknowledged what Kevin had gone through, and the parents agreed to meet up so that the two boys could work together and create an anti-bullying/autism awareness campaign for their school.
Statement from Executive Director, Jessica Ellis:
“This situation was an unfortunate accident with no malicious intent. It’s developmentally normal for young boys to misjudge the dangers of horsing around. We must ask, where are we as a society when our children have no room to make mistakes without harsh legal consequences? These situations fuel CYS’s work with schools to support wider adoption of restorative practices that can be enacted at school to resolve matters quickly and repair relationships and harms without police and justice system involvement whenever possible.”