By Imrat Pasha ’16 and Destinee Barnett ’16
Peer mediation is a problem solving process involving students. The students help their peers resolve many situations; these peer mediation meetings are considered “mini therapy” sessions. These sessions are meant for students to resolve their conflicts or at least calm them down.
Anybody can sign up to become a mediator but in order to become a mediator, there is training involved. The training involves students solving pretend problems. This semester, for the students who want to become mediators, training takes place during periods 8, 9, and 10. Once you’re trained, you can help students with their issues. This is a great way to communicate and resolve your problems. From this program, mediators can gain valuable skills especially if they’re interested in psychology.
Ms. Michelle Gibbens is in charge of Peer Mediation, she helps students become mediators.
“This had a big impact on me, it made me look at situations with more compassion,” said Ms. Gibbens “It gave me insight into conflicts and fights.”
She also said being a mediator is a good experience, and it also looks good on college applications. It helps you learn many valuable problem solving skills and communication skills. Peer mediation often deals with conflicts that involve people talking about one another behind their backs, especially through social media. Peer mediation only deals with two sided conflicts where both parties are at fault. It is easier to communicate in that case. The conflicts that they deal with are conflicts over relationships, friendships being broken, insulting one another, talking about someone behind their backs, etc. these conflicts usually occur because these students think the other person is talking about them behind their back. Mediation may not always solve the problem, but in most cases it prevents fights.
Students who encounter problems often get referrals from the deans to resolve their conflicts in peer mediation. According to Mr. Jason Richardson, dean and global teacher, feels that peer mediation is a positive thing because students get to communicate and hopefully resolve it. He also feels peer mediation and the dean’s office are similar in terms of solving disputes.
“If anybody has a problem that they would like to talk about, they can either come to the dean’s office or go to peer mediation but it depends on who that person is more comfortable with,” said Mr. Richardson.
Mr. Richard Franzese, Assistant Principal of Security, said that it is important that students help other students resolve conflicts.
“Peer mediation is a crucial part of what the dean’s office does in terms of settling dispute,” said Mr. Franzese, “we use it to prevent incidents from occurring.”
He also said the dean’s office and peer mediation is different because of their methods; they both have the same outcomes but just different ways of handling a situation. In the dean’s office, it’s the student, the parents, the deans, and sometimes police are involved, but in peer mediation, it’s only the students and the mediators. Even after kids fight, peer mediation follows up with them to prevent any future incidents from occurring.
Many people have heard of peer mediation but never has really gotten a chance to explore what it has to offer.
“I know peer mediation helps students to resolve conflicts but I’ve personally never went to a meeting,” said Milton Wong ’16, “I wasn’t fully aware of a peer meditation group in our school.