Breaking News
More () »

Pine Bluff school introduces 'restorative room' to help calm students, de-escalate fights

A school in Pine Bluff introduced the 'restorative room' as a way to help encourage kids to process their emotions and get through tough experiences.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Letting things go, no matter how small, isn't always easy— and it can also be difficult to ignore emotions in the heat of the moment.

Watson Chapel High School may have found a solution to these problems in room 203.

"This is the restorative room," Kerri Williams, founder of the room at the school, said.

The restorative room is one part classroom, one part counselor's office, and can be used as a multi-utility room.

"I wanted to create a place that they can come and feel safe and secure, and be able to talk and not feel like they're still at school," Williams explained.

Students can come to the room when they need time to work through their emotions, grab a bite to eat, or even cool down to prevent a fight.

The plan has already worked, too.

"They all sat down, got comfortable, and they were all able to talk and we were able to get down to the root of the issue and solve it," Williams said, about students who had used the room. "And so they, you know, kind of dapped up, hugged it out afterwards, and went back to class."

Williams won't be shying away from issues she knows the district has had in the past, including an incident with a gun earlier last year— but she said that the room can help change the root of those issues.

"Most things happen because it is out of anger, they feel disrespected, they feel like no one is listening to them, caring about them," Williams said. "And so they act out."

If you ask students like Ariel Garner and Ariya Holly about the benefits of the restorative room, they'd agree that this room is a step toward fixing issues.

"Go and stay calm and just collect our thoughts," Garner said. "Put everything into perspective so that we can go forward, make better decisions with a clearer mind."

Change can come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes change can start with just a conversation.

"It's hard to change the stigma when the perception is so bad," Williams said. "So if you ever need me, all you have to do is call for me and I'll be right there. The last thing I want you to do is get into trouble over something that we could've prevented."

Money for the room's furniture was donated by Fordyce Bank and Trust as the school began its first year with a restorative room.

Williams said that they've already helped 18 students work through and talk through anything they're feeling.

Before You Leave, Check This Out