A New York high school has been able to co-ordinate over 200 peer mediations to help students resolve their issues. Retired police detective, Mary Ann McGovern, has been helping Schenectady High School through the Center for Community Justice’s peer mediation plan for the last 12 months. McGovern said:
“Peer mediators are a group of trained, dedicated students who help their fellow classmates resolve their own issues. We do not give advice or judge. We just guide the mediation process”.
The mediation programme now covers all three middle schools. One year ago, they incorporated the “incident reduction plan” because the school was rated the 16th most violent in the state. There are now 40 trained mediators, trained in mediation techniques and communication. Trained mediators sign an oath of confidentiality and receive training before helping in mediation cases and at least two mediators handle each case and are monitored during the mediation. McGovern added:
“The program is a valuable tool for crisis intervention. Mediation is an alternative way to resolve conflicts, giving students a forum to have their voices heard and a chance to own and resolve issues that negatively affect them”.
Mediation guides conversation and facilitates negotiation to help people reach a resolution in a quick and peaceful manner. It has become increasingly popular in recent years and is helpful in all sorts of cases.