About the School Offense Diversion Program
Restorative Services Director Barbie Fischer
DCJ’s School Offense Diversion Program (SoDP) staff work with students referred by the Attorney General’s Office as a result of an arrest for an in-school incident. This program is an alternative to the juvenile court process and punitive disciplinary approaches – a space for mediation with students to talk through and understand the nature of the incident and to validate their experience. Students learn to skillfully resolve problems and sustain healthy relationships so that what may have been their first experience with the legal system is their last. The School Offense Diversion Program is funded through the State of Delaware and governed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The School Offense Diversion Program (SoDP) in Schools pilot launched with Extended School Year at Colonial School District. This pilot program is taking our almost 20-year success with SoDP for students who receive criminal charges and moving it into two middle schools in Colonial School District as an alternative to suspensions. When students have disruptive behavior, they can be referred to our Restorative Services Specialists for a restorative conference with all parties involved to identify needs and create a collective accountability plan aimed at addressing the root causes of the behavior. Included are wrap-around services for the student’s family if needed.