Nick News: School Discipline and Restorative Justice

School discipline has always been a touchy subject. From paddling and suspensions, to handcuffing kids – how much is too much, and what really works?

Big Pictures Interview for Nick News
Big Pictures Interview for Nick News

In a recent Nick News segment that we helped shoot, host Linda Ellerbee explores these questions, and an alternative disciplinary method called Restorative Justice.

Restorative Justice attempts to solve conflict in schools (and other communities) without violence, in a peer-mediated environment.

When kids are caught misbehaving, they have the option of meeting with other kids at the school who have been trained to facilitate Restorative Justice. They talk, work out responsibility, and help find their own solutions. It focuses the rehabilitation of the offenders on reconciliation with the victims, and the school community overall.

Restorative Justice has been adopted by schools and districts across the country – from Oakland, California to right here in Colorado at Hinkley High School – where Big Pictures crews worked with Lucky Duck Productions to film some fascinating interviews, b-roll, and even some fighting reenactments over two days in May.

We captured restorative justice in action, and explored its impact on some very cool kids who might otherwise have been eaten up by the system. Like Ron, a student who had been suspended many times at his middle school for fighting. At Hinkley High he went through an amazing transformation to become a great student who works hard, respects his community, and has a 4.1 GPA.

The style of Nick News calls for classically well-lit interviews - with soft backgrounds, and a slight Dutch tilt. For these we used our Sony F55 Camera package, and Canon Cinema Prime lenses. And for the B-roll and reenactments we brought out our Sony PMW-400 XDCAM HD camera with a Fuji ENG zoom lens. This enabled us to keep the interview set-up in a dedicated classroom, and still be nimble enough to break away and shoot the b-roll as needed.

I was Director of Photography on this shoot, with Trevor Nordeen and Michael Kranicke on sound. And we had the pleasure working with Lucky Duck producer Wendy Lobel.

The segment – School Crime and Too Much Punishment - aired last week on the Nickelodeon Channel, but you can view the entire segment here. The first segment about Ashton - a 5th grade boy suspended for his long hair -  will really draw you in! Our footage was used throughout the entire episode, but really begins at about seventeen minutes with the Hinkley High School segment. Sorry about all the commercials, but it's worth it I promise!


Congrats to Nick News who recently won its tenth Emmy in the category of Outstanding Children's Programming. This is impactful television at its best!


Written by Tom Miller, Copyright © 2015 Big Pictures Media, Inc.