Mr. McCray

As part of our mission to create diverse, joyful, welcoming communities rooted in social justice and rigorous learning, Distinctive Schools is designing more equitable schools through an intentional shift away from traditional or punitive disciplinary measures. We are proud to practice Restorative Justice, a method of conflict resolution that values relationships as the cornerstone of each student’s educational journey. When issues arise, we believe in creating a safe space for diverse perspectives to be heard, paving the way for healing and growth.

Relationship building is at the heart of Distinctive Culture. When we say All Means All, we mean educating the whole child, including supporting students when they make mistakes. Mistakes are part of life, and our goal is to help students learn through them. 

What is Restorative Justice? 

We recognize that when harm occurs in our community, that harm must be repaired. It is important to us that students take accountability for their actions and search for solutions to move forward. Consequences are not personal, but they are personalized. The consequence must make sense to the student based on the action for it to be effective.  Restorative practices are used in our schools to decrease disciplinary issues and disruptions and serve as an alternative to harmful, exclusionary practices such as suspension and expulsion. 

Restorative Justice values relationships at the center of school and community life. When harm happens, these relationships create space for multiple perspectives to be heard in order to repair harm.  We work to establish a strong foundation of trust, respect, and communication with our students.

You may be wondering, what exactly is  Restorative Justice and what does it look like at CICS Lloyd Bond? 

We sat down with our CICS Lloyd Bond Dean, Mr. McCray for a few questions about Restorative Justice at our school.

Read more about Restorative Practices here. We are so grateful to the incredible student support team at CICS Lloyd Bond for their commitment to restorative practices. We thank you for the care you bring to our schools, students, and communities every day! 

MEET YOUR DEAN: What does a Dean do?      

My main purpose as Dean is to make sure the school is safe and make sure our scholar’s voices are heard. I am an advocate for our scholars, our parents, and our teachers. I provide a system so our parents, the community, the principal, and the teachers feel good and safe in this environment. My favorite part of my role is being here at Lloyd Bond. Someone didn’t give up on me, and I don’t give up on our students. 


This is the first practice we can use to change minds. If a scholar is making poor choices, we like to use the intervention of Restorative Justice and Restorative conversation. We revisit the situation and find out why the student made that decision, how they could have gone about it differently, and find the root of the behavior. Restorative Justice for us is an effective system that we can use before we reach the point of detention or other accountability practices. 

PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE: What does Restorative Justice look like in our classrooms day to day? 

I’ve seen this be effective tremendously, especially for those scholars who are struggling academically. Sometimes if a scholar is struggling, this will cause an outburst and disrupt the learning. In this case, I have seen it really help to pull the student aside, support them, and give them a ‘stay in the game’ pep talk. Restorative Justice also helps teachers with classroom management. This practice helps build relationships, teachers are giving students the opportunity to learn and change. 

As Dean, I am planting seeds, and it’s fitting that our school is in the Altgeld Gardens community. I love knowing I may not see the difference today or tomorrow, but it will come. Just like a flower won’t grow overnight. The joy that I feel is giving students hope, words are powerful and I try to make sure that every day I am inspiring our kids and showing them that it’s possible- maybe they can become a dean one day like Mr. McCray!

What I really love about Lloyd Bond is that word- bond. We’re a family here.