Wachtel’s wife, Susan, IIRP’s vice president, introduced Vidia Negrea, a psychologist who is helping to open a Community Service Foundation school in Hungary.
With an appealing soft-spoken manner and self-effacing humor, Negrea talked about her
struggles as a social worker in Romania and Hungary and her
internship at a Community Service Foundation school
in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
One of the most striking things she
communicated was the way in which she
learned to incorporate restorative practices into her
When Negrea became frustrated and overwhelmed by a particularly troubled young man at the school, she
sought assistance from fellow staff members, thinking she
was failing in her
It was a major revelation for her
that asking for help from others, especially from the troubled boy himself, was not only “allowed”, but an essential part of the theory and practice of restorative practices.
When Negrea let the boy know how his
actions were affecting her
and asked him to take responsibility for them, his
behavior began to change for the better.
But student misbehavior was disrupting the innovative effort and “the teachers were ready to mutiny.” Along came Ted and Susan Wachtel
and the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools program.