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52 West Main Street
Washingtonville, NY 10992

Phone: 845.497.4000
Fax: 845.497.4030

Peer Mediation

Rationale

The use of mediation in schools has emerged across the nation and in other parts of the world as an alternative means of dealing with students' conflicts. Schools have found such characteristics of the mediation process as communication, neutrality, empowerment and confidentiality useful in allowing students to resolve their own problems. The effects upon schools that support mediation as an alternative, range from a more cohesive school climate to a marked reduction in various types of acting-out behaviors such as substance abuse, truancy and low academic achievement.

In the Peer Mediation Program, students negotiate their differences with the assistance of trained peer mediators. The goal of a mediation session is a written agreement which serves to structure the future relationship of the

conflicting students.

Typical types of school related conflicts that are amenable to mediation are verbal arguments, threats, rumors, physical fighting, as well as other seemingly minor disputes that school staff traditionally find developing into major altercations. Although fourth and fifth grade students can be referred into mediation by any staff member, administrator, or by a fellow student, mediation is ultimately a voluntary process. Peer Mediation is available to any fourth and/or fifth grade student who chooses to use this program to find a solution to his or her conflict.



Peer Mediators

 
Peer mediators serve in teams as neutral third parties to help disputants reach mutually agreeable solutions to their problems. The peer mediators learn the skills of:
  • active listening
  • understanding the needs and concerns of others
  • neutrality
  • bias awareness
  • how to facilitate the mediation process, so that constructive communication and problem solving can occur

The disputants in a mediation session learn to deal with conflict by negotiating a resolution which suits their needs. The major lesson learned is how to take responsibility not only for one's own actions, but the resolution of the problem as well.

The peer mediators are scheduled during their free time to mediate conflicts between students. An adult coordinator supervises the peer mediators and is the advisor for the program.

The long range goals of a peer mediation program are to provide the school with an alternative method of resolving conflict that can become an integral piece of the problem solving strategies already in place within the school environment.

The program also provides leadership training for students largely selected by their peers, who will be seen as role models for the school, and who will then have the ability to resolve their own conflicts in constructive ways.

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52 West Main Street Washingtonville, NY 10992  |  Phone: 845.497.4000  |  Fax: 845.497.4030
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