Here's what I'd recommend: 

Facilitator Structure

1 x Lead Facilitator. 

  • Maintain neutrality
  • Introduce the Community Agreement
  • Inform folks as to what will happen.
  • Control flow of conversation
  • Affirm what is being said
  • Re-phrase statements that cross the line. 

2 x co-facilitators

  • Support lead facilitator by monitoring the statements to ensure the community agree.
  • Hand-up when something breaches the community agreement

The Community Agreement

The following is a list of commonly used "ground rules" used to ensure that all participants feel respected, included and able to freely contribute in a facilitated workshop, dialogue and/or courageous or difficult conversation:

  • Listen, and give each other adequate space to speak.
  • Participate fully (assume people want to hear you).
  • No one owns a monopoly on the truth.
  • Challenge yourself (find that place between comfort and discomfort)
  • Challenge each other respectfully: ask questions, refrain from personal attacks. Focus on ideas, perspectives and not people.
  • Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing ("I" instead of "they," "we," and "you").
  • Not about winning or losing. We are all here to learn.
  • The goal is not to agree: it is to gain a deeper understanding.
  • Be conscientious about non-verbal cues (your body language).

Participants are encouraged to provide their own suggestions before the above are offered. Participants are also welcomed add to this list when needed.

What Happens When ... 

Here's the script: "Hold on. We had agreed to keep our statements to ... <name the agreement>. Are you able to rephrase that in a way that keeps it to .... 

I have a practice dialogue at the following link: 


Warm-up (20 min)

  • Ensure the participants practice on a 2 to 3 low risk topics: 
    • What do you love most about Tower Hill School? 
    • If you had describe Tower Hill's culture in one word, what would that be ... 
    • What are the common values of Hillers? 

Transition to more difficult topic: 

  • Lead conversation using questions focused on individual perspectives and use active listening to affirm what is being said:
    • How would you describe the impact of what happened? 
    • Would those outside of Tower Hill have cared about the intent of the students? 
    • What do you think about condoning this behaviour?

Transition to most difficult dialogue

  • Lead conversation around divergent views. Allow students to speak as much as possible. 
    • How are you feeling about the disciplinary action? 
    • Why are you feeling this way? 
    • Would you feel the same way if this was a student at a different school, whom you did not have a personal connection with?