Students In December Protest Involved In ‘Restorative’ Talk

Champaign Centennial High School

Champaign Centennial High School

(Champaign Unit 4 Schools)

Students and others involved in a December protest outside Champaign’s Centennial High School - where a vehicle was damaged - have met for the first time, and vow to continue a dialogue for moving ahead in a non-violent manner.

in a press release, Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Sunday’s ‘restorative circle’ also included the woman whose windshield was damaged in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ incident on December 4th.

Rietz said the participants first discussed the perception they had of the roles played by the driver, students, school personnel, and police in the events.

"Participants then came to a shared understanding of the responsiblity these individuals had for the choices and decisions they made on that day and in the aftermath of the event," she said.  "The goal was to give each individual the opportunity to express his or her view, for the others in the circle to gain an understanding of how the event affected that individual, and for that individual to understand how his or her actions affected others."

The discussion was Rietz' recommendation, as opposed to charging anyone with a crime.  University of Illinois psychology professor Mikhail Lyubansky was among those leading Sunday’s talk. 

He said the driver was able to better understand what the students were doing, and the students got a sense of what it was like to be inside that car.

“..To better understand how to engage in non-violent protests – even when things are disturbed, and get heated," Lyubansky said. "Because that was certainly part of the civil rights movement, but it’s not actually something that these students were taught, or had learned, or were prepared to deal with.”

Lyubansky said the group intends to compensate the woman for vehicle damages, and for students that were part of the protest, but not present Sunday, to help find the best solution for paying her back.

He said further talks are expected to be scheduled at Centennial.

Story source: WILL