Why peer mediation?
Solve conflict before it escalates. Students helping students resolve conflict through peer mediation has been shown to reduce ISS/OSS referrals. When problems are solved, students can better focus on academics and enjoy positive social interactions with their peers.
How did Meadowlark get peer mediation?
In August 2011 the Meadowlark PTA sponsored a two-day Conflict Resolution training for approximately thirty students and ten staff members. The staff and students gained a deeper understanding of the emotions that drive conflict, concrete strategies for dealing with anger, and the skills to conduct mediation sessions between two disputants. MMS administration and PTA members decided this was a program that would positively impact the culture at Meadowlark.
How does it work?
Each grade level has one teacher who has been trained as the mediation advisor and 8-12 students trained as mediators. Mediation between two disputants must be voluntary and should be seen as an opportunity to solve a conflict that exists between two people. Mediators are trained to handle low-level disputes that do not meet the guidelines for discipline referrals. Disputants fill out a request for mediation. The advisor screens the conflict to assure it is appropriate to be handled by mediators, referring higher-level violations to guidance counselors or the assistant principals.
Mediations are scheduled during enrichment period or elective classes and a typical mediation takes 10-15 minutes. The advisor is outside the door of the mediation room available to assist if needed. We’ve had great success with the program during the first semester and look forward to giving our mediators more experience in resolving conflict.
Who can refer or suggest mediation?
Students, teachers, parents, or friends can suggest mediation when they know of a problem. If the referral comes from anyone other than the two students, either the advisor, assistant principal, or guidance counselor will speak with both disputants to make sure both agree to mediation and it is a situation appropriate for the mediators to handle.
Support the mediation program and encourage students to resolve conflict when it occurs.