Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

This proposal relates to NYAR Conference Strand II: “Social & Emotional Skills” and NYAR Conference Strand III: “Safety & Violence Prevention”. The Peer Mediation Program at The Mediation Center teaches young people social and emotional skills by examining school climate and conflict culture, and teaches skills that relate to character education, communication skills and proactive and peaceful problem-solving skills. The Peer Mediation Program also prevents violence and ensures safety for all young people by teaching students who to manage conflicts in peaceful and positive ways; the Program teaches conflict resolution skills and educates students on various conflicts, such as physical, emotional, social or bullying situations.

Brief Program Description

Rumors. Threats. Relationships. Bullying. The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program has been successfully resolving these student-to-student conflicts (and more) since 2007. Through the use of non-violent conflict resolution training, Peer Mediators are helping their schools become more peaceful. Looking for a way to encourage positive student leadership and effective conflict resolution? Look no further - Peer Mediation is your answer! Target Audience: Teachers, Counselors, School Social Workers, Administrators, School Discipline Personnel.

Summary

In March 2014, The Council of State Governments Justice Center came out with a 460-page report (“School Discipline Consensus Report”) that reviewed school disciplinary actions (zero tolerance policies, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspensions) and recommended research-based interventions that better address student misbehavior. Specifically, the Report recognized that practices like out-of-school suspensions are not effective in making classrooms safer, nor are they successful in teaching students the appropriate social and emotional skills needed to navigate conflicts in the future. The Report instead recommends other interventions that do what punitive student discipline cannot; among these recommendations is the introduction and use of restorative justice practices. Restorative justice practices believe that consequences for student misbehavior (ie student-to-student conflict) should be 1. Focuses on repairing any harm caused; 2. Encourages students to take responsibility for their actions; and 3. Helps students learn to avoid such behavior in the future. A highly effective restorative justice practice is Peer Mediation. Through the use of Peer Mediation, students are redirected and provided with an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and make a plan for their future that helps them avoid negative and harmful responses to conflict. The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program partners with local schools to develop and implement the Peer Mediation Program as a viable alternative to school discipline that is not punitive. Trained students - Peer Mediators - serve as neutral facilitators that help guide disputing students through a six-step process that addresses facts (“What happened?”), feelings (“How did you feel?”) and the future (“What will you do to prevent this from happening again?” Through the use of Peer Mediation, schools give each student the opportunity to learn peaceful, effective and transforming conflict resolution skills. This presentation will provide participants with a thorough summary of the concept behind restorative justice practices and introduce participants to the purpose and process of Peer Mediation. The Mediation Center will describe its own Program in detail (data, data collection measures, research that supports Peer Mediation, etc), and provide participants with the tools necessary to start a Program of their own if they choose.

Evidence

Peer Mediation is a research-based intervention that has consistently shown effectiveness. The Mediation Center also conducts its own research and data collection that further proves the effectiveness of the Peer Mediation Program. Some of the research describing the need for programs like Peer Mediation and describing the effectiveness of Peer Mediation are listed below:  When students are suspended or expelled, they also have fewer opportunities to develop pro-social skills that can help them succeed at school (School Discipline Consensus Report, 2014)  There is lack of evidence that schools that are frequently removing students from the school for disciplinary reasons are improving academic achievement among the students remaining in the classroom (School Discipline Consensus Report, 2014)  Consequences for misbehavior in which there has been physical or psychological harm caused to another person should reflect a restorative approach that does the following (“Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools (A Guide for Educators)”, 2014): o Focuses on repairing the harm that was caused by the misconduct o Encourages students to take responsibility for their actions o Helps students learn to avoid such behavior in the future  Restorative justice practices in a middle school in Oakland, CA, reduced its suspensions by 87% (Sumner, M.D. et. al., “School-based restorative justice as an alternative to zero-tolerance policies: Lessons from West Oakland”, 2010)  Restorative justice practices in a middle school in San Antonio, TX, reduced its out-of-school suspensions by 84% and reduced its in-school-suspensions by 30% (Armour, M., “Ed White middle school restorative discipline evaluation: Implementation and impact, 2012/2013 sixth grade”, 2013)  88% of students who had gone through [a] peer mediation program felt that mediation helped them get along with students; 83% believed it helped them understand others in general better (McWilliam, N., “A school peer mediation program as a context for exploring therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ): Can a peer mediation program inform the law?”, 2012)  The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program statistics are based on research-based surveys and data collection: o Retrospective Pre/Post Evaluation of Peer Mediation Training (Adapted from the Conflict Resolution Evaluation developed by the Burnett-Polk Counties Leadership Academy) o Peer Mediation Survey o Monthly Reports  The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program results from the 2013-2014 school year: o 92% of all mediation cases achieved success (success is measured by the end of a conflict and no further referrals to mediation and/or administration for the same conflict between the same students) o 95% reported training taught them how to resolve conflicts peacefully (Retrospective Pre-Post Survey, The Mediation Center © 2012) o 98% of all students referred to and participants in Peer Mediation report that their mediators were fair and neutral (Peer Mediation Survey, The Mediation Center © 2011) o 95% of all students referred to and participants reported that Peer Mediation helped them solve their problem (Peer Mediation Survey, The Mediation Center © 2011)

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Wendy Williamson, ESQ, is the Executive Director of The Mediation Center. Under her direction, Mrs. Williamson first started the Peer Mediation Program in 2007 after being invited to teach conflict resolution skills to students at a local alternative school. Mrs. Williamson applies her legal background and her years of experience as a private and volunteer mediator daily as she leads The Mediation Center into the future.

Jocelyn Lee, LMSW, is the Youth Program Coordinator of The Mediation Center. Mrs. Lee oversees the Peer Mediation Program and is in charge of the training and successful implementation of the Program in numerous schools in Savannah, GA. Mrs. Lee is also a certified Civil and Juvenile Delinquency Mediator. She uses her skills and expertise to empower young people to make positive and peaceful changes in their lives.

Keyword Descriptors

Conflict Resolution, Peer Mediation, Student Discipline

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-2-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

3-2-2015 4:15 PM

Share

COinS
 
Mar 2nd, 3:00 PM Mar 2nd, 4:15 PM

“Don’t Hate, Peer Mediate!” – Teaching Students to Say YES to Non-Violent Conflict Resolution

Verelst

Rumors. Threats. Relationships. Bullying. The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program has been successfully resolving these student-to-student conflicts (and more) since 2007. Through the use of non-violent conflict resolution training, Peer Mediators are helping their schools become more peaceful. Looking for a way to encourage positive student leadership and effective conflict resolution? Look no further - Peer Mediation is your answer! Target Audience: Teachers, Counselors, School Social Workers, Administrators, School Discipline Personnel.