November 13, 2009
21st Century Prep swears in student peer mediators
Fourteen fifth, sixth and seventh graders from the 21st Century Preparatory School were sworn in as peer mediators on Tuesday, by Judge Faye Flancher in her courtroom.
Last month, the students attended a two-day training program that provided them and their advisors with conflict management skills, problem-solving strategies, and intensive instruction in the peer mediation process. Active listening, dealing with feelings, effective questioning techniques, and building workable agreements are highlighted.
Mediation is a process for resolving disputes and conflicts in which a neutral third party acts as a moderator seeking to work out differences constructively. Mediation provides the school with an alternative to traditional disciplinary practices. Peer mediation is not about finding who is right or wrong; instead, students are encouraged to move beyond the immediate conflict and learn how to get along with each other.
The peer mediators for this school-year are: Sierra Hogard, Jackson Tracy, Makayla LaRue, Etaly Perkins, Isabella Huizar and Emma Graves, 5th grade; Brianna Smith, Jada Colbert, Fernando Huerta and Marissa Dyess, 6th grade; Ahmad Qawi, Caitlin Obernberger, DeAysa Riley and Ashley Coutts-Heaney, 7th grade.
Not every kind of problem is suitable for peer mediation. Assault or other criminal activities are usually not referred to the school’s mediation program. Common situation involving name-calling, rumors, bumping into students in the hallways and bullying can be successfully resolved through peer mediation.