Savannah Mediation Center Helps Resolve Arguments
Wednesday, June, 13, 2018
Many schools have instituted mediation programs that help student resolve issues before they escalate. HV Jenkins High School is no exception and according to one student involved in the program, it has helped enemies become friends on at least one occasion.
According to students, mediation programs in schools bring students together with peers to discuss their problems. The Jenkins program is part of a Chatham County Peer Mediation Program that includes more than 300 students. All have been trained in peer mediation procedures. The program is funded through grants, donations, the school system, and the United Way. The county-wide program helps students in grades two through 12 resolve their issues.
Many of the teachers and administrators familiar with the program believe the magic is in the fact that peers are involved. When adults try to assist students in resolving their problems it is sometimes seen as interfering. But when peers mediate, the outcome is often much better.
Students are learning new ways to resolve their problems – methods that do not involve violence. And since many students come from homes and neighborhoods where violence is the go-to tool for resolving differences, the mediation program exposes them to a whole new way of dealing with problems.
The program has been running since 2008 and is now in 34 schools in Chatham County.
In Jenkins, peer mediators bring disputing students into a room, rearrange the desks in a classroom, and lay down the rule book. Then parties get to tell their stories and explore possible solutions. It is a four-step process that has changed the culture in county schools.